Business group backs Port of Hastings plan

Westernport Chamber of Commerce Industry believes separation of Port of Hastings and Port of Melbourne will boost the local business

By Ruza Zivkusic | June 6, 2011

Westernport Chamber of Commerce Industry President Jim Schaefer has backed the separation of the Port of Hastings and Port of Melbourne, saying it will boost the local business.

The Victorian Government has recently announced new legislation to establish an independent Port of Hastings authority almost a year after the Port of Hastings was amalgamated with the Port of Melbourne.

"From a liaison point of view I think that it makes some sense to have an independent authority involved in Hastings. To have a direct liaison with the town makes a lot more sense that to have it run out of Melbourne," Schaefer says.

He claims the relationship between the town and Port of Melbourne has been poor following the amalgamation.

"I must say we had a relationship which wasn’t strong. They haven’t approached the chamber in 18 months since that change," Schaefer says.

"But our position is that if the authority comes back to Hastings that gives us a chance to talk to them more directly and as this project unfolds then we would hope to have more input into the liaison’s point of view."

The development of Hastings as a second Victorian container port would boost business for the local area, he says.

"We then need to consider what it will mean for the local business, how we can get involved in the port’s development and what are the infrastructure changes that may impact on the town in terms of road or rail or trucks coming back and forth from the port. We’d like to make sure the town is looked after."

The government does not expect an increase in truck traffic because developments at the port are likely to be located north of the town.

"We don’t expect there to be a lot of truck traffic flow through the main streets but again until we see the proposed freeways and byways it’s hard to make a judgement." Scahefer says.

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