Exercise Kunawarra

A joint national maritime pollution exercise will be held in Queenscliff and St Leonards from Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 October, 2022.

This is a controlled exercise to practice responding to a marine pollution incident – it is not a real pollution event. 

Although marine pollution incidents are uncommon in Australia, exercises like this one provide an important collaborative opportunity to practice responding to a maritime emergency. 

What does this mean for you?

Throughout the exercise, you may see emergency responders and exercise participants wearing personal protective equipment, such as high visibility clothing and coveralls. You may also see aviation activity, including drones between Barwon Heads and St Leonards.  

Although this is an exercise, we are asking the community to please not approach exercise participants working on the beach with boats, machinery and equipment along the Queenscliff Foreshore Reserve. 

We know this area is home to a diverse range of wildlife and we’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure this exercise does not impact the surrounding ecosystem. 

There will be no impact to community safety, the environment, economic, or cultural assets.

What does Kunawarra mean?

The exercise name, Kunawarra, is the Wadawurrung word meaning black swan. Wadawurrung Traditional Owner representatives have been consulted regarding the naming of the exercise and will also participate.

Image of a beach looking out to sea











Photo of Queenscliff Pier Beach

Background 

Victoria is renowned for coastline with iconic beaches, bays, ports and harbours. The coastline has great environmental and recreational values and is home to globally significant wildlife, including penguins, seals and whales. It also supports commercial activities like tourism, fisheries and shipping. 

Maritime emergencies can have severe environmental impacts. The fallout from large oil or chemical spills, ships grounding or losing cargo can destroy marine ecosystems and cause years of disruption to fisheries, tourism and port operations.

That’s why it’s essential we’re proactive in training and holding exercises to practice responding to these emergencies. The Department of Transport hold exercises each year in collaboration with Victoria’s ports and emergency response agencies. 

These exercises bring together government departments and agencies, port managers, emergency services and industry representatives, in order to collaborate, learn and improve maritime emergency responses.

Maritime emergency exercises ensure we can all play an active role in minimising the impact of emergencies to the Victorian community through effective preparation, coordination and response. 

Further information

For any inquiries about Exercise Kunawarra, please email [email protected]

Please let us know your name , the best way to contact you and what your questions are. We look forwarded to helping you. 

Australian Government Australian Maritime Safety Authority