Posted on 28. Jul, 2010 in Victoria

Premier John Brumbyhas announced that Victoria’s largest marine infrastructure project had been completed $248 million under budget, with latest figures also showing trade into the Port of Melbourne had significantly increased.

Mr Brumby said the Channel Deepening Project, which earlier this year won the National Infrastructure Award had yielded sizeable savings on the original $969 million budget.

“Our Government has taken the strong decisions to rise to the challenge of the global financial crisis – strengthening our economy for Victorian families, delivering surplus budgets and creating more jobs than any other State,” he said.

“When the Channel Deepening Project was completed last November, we did expect project savings, but I am pleased to say this vital major project was delivered $248 million under budget, which includes environmental monitoring costs to 2012.

“The project was delivered ahead of schedule, within strict environmental guidelines and well under budget, which shows the strength of the Victorian Government’s commitment to the prudent management of major infrastructure projects.

“The budget savings were delivered by factors that include favourable weather conditions, improved dredging productivity, the deployment of an additional dredging vessel and diligent project management by Port of Melbourne Corporation.

“Importantly, the Channel Deepening Project will deliver an extra $2 billion to the Victorian economy over the next 30 years.”

Mr Brumby said the project had opened up Victoria’s sea highway to the world, boosting trade volumes into the port.

“The port experienced very strong trade in the first half of 2010. In the six months from January to June, container volumes grew at an average monthly rate of 15.8 per cent – the strongest ever performance for the port’s core trade,” Mr Brumby said.

“Just over a year ago, 60 per cent of container vessels calling at Melbourne were potentially draught affected with serious implications for the wider logistics chain and impacting exports.

“Since the completion of channel deepening, on average at least one vessel every two days has utilised the increased draught depth, with 74 vessels benefiting in the June quarter.”

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said channel deepening was a critical infrastructure project to help secure the competitiveness of the Port of Melbourne – a key economic driver for Victoria.

“To deliver such a complex project and to achieve such significant savings is testament to the good governance and management of this project,” Mr Pallas said.

“This project achieved a genuine balance between economic development and protecting our environmental assets. It created about 2300 jobs during construction, with port activities supporting a further 14,000 jobs.”

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