Posted on 04. Jun, 2010 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I rise to support the Transport Legislation Amendment (Ports Integration) Bill 2010. It is most disappointing to hear that the opposition is not supporting the bill, but I do not want to go into its negative and very poor rationale for doing so. I ask the house to allow me to concentrate on the debate at hand, particularly given the allocated time constraints.

The economic importance of our ports has long been clearly recognised in this country, particularly in Victoria. Statistically speaking, the port of Melbourne alone delivers some $85 billion in trade every year, making it the biggest general cargo and container port in Australia, and one of the top 50 container ports globally. This is significant, and we should never overlook that fact because it is in this context that we should understand the importance of the bill.

The key purpose of this bill is that it recognises that Victoria’s ports and shipping channels have a critical function in offering a sustainable and integrated transport system in Victoria. The bill also affirms the interconnectedness and mutual dependency between ports and the general transport system. The overall management of the ports of Hastings and Melbourne are agglomerated by this bill, under the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PMC). The contemporary Transport Integration Act framework still oversees the new integrated Port of Melbourne Corporation and the Victorian Regional Channels Authority; the integrated entity will be transferred into the new primary statute.

The unification and consolidation of Victoria’s transport agencies will be completed in the transport portfolio, within the modern policy framework in the Transport Integration Act 2010. The new act also covers the Victorian Regional Channels Authority which is defined as one of the ‘transport corporations’, together with the port of Melbourne. The Port of Melbourne Corporation must satisfy a decision‑making process that best serves the interests of the transport system as one integrated system. Other transport agencies will, in this regard, have the same objectives as the PMC.

The backbone of the one transport system philosophy is focused on policy‑making and operational amalgamation, which serves as the basis of the Transport Integration Act. The same legislation and framework will govern every entity in the state that regulates or oversees land and water transport. These entities must be brought to agreement with the vision, goals and underpinning framework of the act. Consolidating the management of the ports of Melbourne and Hastings is an essential part in integrating a sustainable transport system, unlike the wishy‑washy view that we can expect from members opposite. This can improve the future development of the port of Hastings in a most efficient way.

In August 2009 the government established an updated blueprint for overall port strategy entitled Port Futures. This bill aims to implement the updated agreements in port governance. Under the strategy blueprint, national transport freight networks are connected in an integrated way under the sustainable ports framework to deliver results. I have great regard for this bill, therefore I commend it to the house and wish it a speedy passage.

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