Adjournment: Beaumaris Bay fossil site | Sue Pennicuik

Adjournment: Beaumaris Bay fossil site

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and relates to the national heritage listing nomination for Beaumaris Bay.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 5:15pm
Sue Pennicuik

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and relates to the national heritage listing nomination for Beaumaris Bay. I have raised the significance of the Beaumaris Bay fossil site before, first in 2008 with regard to protecting fossils during the construction of the Beach Road bicycle path. In February 2016 I called for the protection of the Beaumaris Bay fossil site in relation to the proposal to extend the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron. Beaumaris Bay extends from Table Rock to Mentone Beach and has been renominated for a national heritage listing for its paleontological and geological significance.

Beaumaris Bay is the only known urban fossil site in Australia and is renowned for its geological value, artistic heritage and Indigenous heritage such as the ancient middens. It provides evidence of the evolution and extinction of marine biodiversity, reveals the origins of Australia's modern marine life and represents a globally canonical site for understanding the evolution of sharks, whales and penguins. It is also the only known fossil site in Australia that contains a particular class of marine and terrestrial mammals.

On 20 February Bayside City Council will consider its support for the national heritage listing for Beaumaris Bay. The nomination has the support of Museums Victoria, the Paleontological Society of the USA, the Royal Society of Victoria, Professor Tim Flannery, the International Union of Biological Sciences, the Victorian Artists Society, the Boon Wurrung Foundation and many more. There is a large number of local community groups that would also like to see Beaumaris Bay receive a national heritage listing, including the Bayside Earth Science Society, the Sandringham Foreshore Association, the Beaumaris Conservation Society, the Friends of Ricketts Point, the Port Phillip Conservation Council, the Bayside arts group and the Friends of Mordialloc Catchment. The many people and groups who have been working to achieve national heritage listing for this special and unique part of Port Phillip Bay have been advised that Beaumaris Bay is deserving of the nomination with the support of the state and local government.

An extract from the national heritage application reads:

Beaumaris Bay has been nominated for national heritage listing predominantly for its outstanding palaeontological and geological significance. It also has artistic, landscape and Indigenous significance. The Beaumaris Bay cliffs and foreshore yield precious and unique fossils throughout most of their exposure.

The Beaumaris Sandstone at the Beaumaris Bay fossil site (BBFS) is recognised nationally and internationally as containing the greatest abundance and diversity of fossils … of any site in Victoria and Australia. The rocks were deposited about 5 million years ago; a period that is otherwise poorly represented in Australia's geological record …

My request to the minister is that she meet with representatives from the Sandringham Foreshore Association — the group advocating for the national heritage listing of Beaumaris Bay — and, importantly, that she write a letter of support for the renomination of Beaumaris Bay for a national heritage listing.

The PRESIDENT — Thank you. There are those that say there is another fossil site in here and I certainly need all the protection I can get.

REPLY on 6 March 2018:

The significance of the fossil beds at Beaumaris Bay were highlighted by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council in 2011 and its recommendation to create a natural features reserve to protect the area was supported by the government. I understand that the fossil beds are considered to be of international significance by eminent palaeontologists, geomorphologists and geologists in Australia and abroad.

My advisor met with Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos of the Sandringham Foreshore Association and Professor Erich Fitzgerald of Melbourne Museum on 22 February 2018 to discuss the most recent fossil discoveries at Beaumaris Bay. She also had the opportunity to personally view some of the fossils held by the museum.

I have committed to providing a letter of support in addition to the letter already provided by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to support the nomination of Beaumaris Bay for inclusion on the National Heritage List to the Beaumaris Bay Heritage Consortium.