The Victorian Coalition Government recently announced new legislation to establish an independent Port of Hastings Development Authority and pave the way for future development of the port.
Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the new legislation delivered on the Coalition Government’s promise to develop a second Victorian container port and cater for the growth of container movements in and out of the state.
“All container traffic is currently handled at the Port of Melbourne and volumes are estimated to quadruple over the next 30 years,” Dr Napthine said.
“We need to start work now on establishing a second port to relieve the forecast congestion and ensure Victoria’s continued economic success.
“Hastings is already an operating port and is well-placed to be Victoria’s second container port, with its existing deep water access and extensive supply of port-zoned land.
“The new port will also provide logistics benefits by delivering freight with good access to major customers in Melbourne’s south-east,” Dr Napthine said.
Once established, the independent Port of Hastings Development Authority will commence key economic, environmental and social impact assessment studies to provide a basis for more detailed planning and future development.
“With the number of containers being shipped in Victoria expected to rise from just over two million to eight million by 2035, the Coalition Government has always looked at the development of the Hastings port as a priority,” Dr Napthine said.
“Unlike the previous Labor Government, the Victorian Coalition wants to get started on delivering Victoria’s second container port as soon as possible.
“This Bill will overcome the short-sightedness of Daniel Andrews and his Labor colleagues who last year rolled the previous Port of Hastings Corporation into the Port of Melbourne. Labor clearly had no plan to address the growth of container movements in and out of Victoria.
“This development is essential for the long-term economic viability of our state and the Coalition Government is committed to fast-tracking the Port of Hastings project, with completion expected in 10 to 15 years,” Dr Napthine said.
The Port of Hastings already serves major international and domestic shipping trade, including import and export of oil, LPG, ULP and steel. It has approximately 200 vessels visiting each year, amounting to five million tonnes of cargo.
Dr Napthine said the Hastings development was an exciting prospect for the region, providing broader benefits to the local community by creating jobs and generating new business opportunities.
“We will consult fully with stakeholders and the local community throughout the development process to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome,” Dr Napthine said.
Source: premier, June 2, 2011; Image: portofhastings