Pallas raises doubts over Port of Hastings plan

Opposition blasts government’s approach to Port of Hastings, raising concerns over its plan to make it a container port

By Ruza Zivkusic | June 17, 2011

The Victorian Opposition has blasted the government’s approach to the Port of Hastings, raising concerns over its plan to make it a container port.

Opposition spokesman on ports Tim Pallas believes the government will fail to deliver container facilities at the Port of Hastings according to its stated timeframe.

Premier Ted Baillieu wants to develop Hastings as a container port to ease the burden on the Port of Melbourne, which Ports Minister Denis Napthine says will struggle with the expected increase in shipping containers in the coming decades.

"The opposition has two principal concerns regarding the fundamental objectives the legislation and the government’s planning for and its ability to deliver the Port of Hastings as a container port," he says.

"You cannot simply say you are going to fast-track a piece of infrastructure and expect it will be so. An enormous amount of redirection, effort, emphasis, activity and very substantial capital investment will be required."

Pallas has also raised doubts about funding for the project, saying the government "cannot do it on the cheap" if it wants to ensure a long-term option for the freight and logistics industry.

"All we hear from this government is its longer-term plans. We need to see exactly what will happen. The government needs to put the plan before the port in terms of its outcomes," he says.

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