What's in store for Port of Hastings?

Victorian Government urged to reveal Hastings plan

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 2, 2011

Plans to turn Hastings into a container port need to start immediately, the Victorian Freight Logistics Council (VFLC) Executive Officer Rose Elphick says.

She is urging the Victorian Government to commence work, saying the VFLC has lobbied for the expansion for five years.

"Our freight forward application has been put out since 2005 and in each of those publications we have said the planning needs to be done now for Hastings because the lead time for these things is long," Elphick says.

"We believe there’ll be additional capacity required; just when does depend on the Australian dollar world trade manufacturing policy and climate decisions.

"We’re not putting a timeline but we certainly think the planning work needs to be done because the opportunities to get rail in there every day are being threatened by further development in that corridor," she adds.

The Port of Hastings expansion will cost the Victorian taxpayers $9.4 billion, according to an internal government document prepared by consultants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu for former Labor Ports Minister Tim Pallas in 2010.

Pallas, who currently stands as the Opposition Minister for Ports, says expanding the deepwater port of Hastings will need major improvements to existing infrastructure and will take longer than the 10-year period that Minister for Ports Denis Napthine has announced.

He is calling on the government to reveal their plans for Hastings.

"It is almost certain that the development would not be completed in the timeframe of eight to 10 years promised by the Minister," Pallas says.

Napthine last week opened the annual Australian Logistics Council (ALC) forum with a pledge to revoke the previous government’s plans to merge the ports of Hastings and Melbourne.

He says the government’s aim is to grow Victoria’s regional economy and to reduce congestion at the Port of Melbourne.

It intends to introduce legislation early this year to revoke plans to merge the Port of Melbourne and Hastings and to establish an independent port authority.

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