Victorian Opposition plans for infrastructure oversight


Would-be minister for freight for Victoria puts forward her case for election.

Victorian Opposition plans for infrastructure oversight
The Victorian Opposition favours expanding the Port of Melbourne over building a new port at Hastings.

 

Victorian Labor has promised a dedicated freight minister and a new overseer for large-scale infrastructure projects in the State.

The Opposition says it will legislate to ensure government publicly responds to the body’s recommendations if it wins the election on November 29.

"A future Labor government will establish Infrastructure Victoria with responsibility for providing independent, transparent advice on infrastructure projects and priorities," opposition spokeswoman for freight and ports Natalie Hutchins says.

"Labor will make Infrastructure Victoria’s recommendations public and ensure the government responds to these publically in a timely manner."

Hutchins made the comments at a workshop of Victorian Transport Association (VTA) members last week.

She says the plans stand in stark contrast to the incumbent government, which has avoided official scrutiny of its East-West Link and Port of Hastings developments.

"The Government’s transport commitments are all based on either very soft business cases, which they won’t release, or they are proceeding with no business case at all," Hutchins says.

The would-be minister for freight also believes there is still plenty of life in the existing Port of Melbourne facilities, and favours enhancing that port over an incumbent plan to build a new deep water port at Hastings in Melbourne’s east.

"My aim is to push the current ports as hard as possible for as long as possible," she says.

"The Port of Melbourne is in a good central location and its long-term operation needs to be protected, including from encroachment by other sensitive uses and by increasing road and rail congestion in the inner city area."

In addition, Hutchins says Labor will begin planning for a new container port west of Melbourne. She says this will be one of the first priorities for the new Infrastructure Victoria to consider.

Finally, Hutchins has promised to be a consultative and communicative minister.

"I believe we need to take the entire supply chain into account when making decisions in government – I know that in this business, time is money," she says.

"I would welcome immediate dialogue with the VTA and key freight users from day one."

The VTA was unable to comment today on Hutchin's presentation.

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