BAILLIEU MUST ACT ON CONTAINER INDUSTRY CONCERNS

Posted on 06. Mar, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government must stop dithering and resolve capacity issues at the Port of Melbourne, Shadow Minister for Ports, Major Projects and Infrastructure Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas said the Baillieu Government’s inaction was threatening the Port of Melbourne’s reputation as a leading port in Australia.

“Jobs growth in the industry will be put under further threat unless Ports Minister Dennis Napthine details overdue plans on how his Government will deal with short to medium-term container capacity,” Mr Pallas said.

“The container industry is calling out for the Baillieu Government to act and expand the Port of Melbourne facilities to ensure it can handle current shipments and future growth.

“The Baillieu Government has refused to act despite shipping company ANL stating Melbourne is already at crisis point.

“ANL sees a crisis in port capacity right now. Unlike the Ports of Sydney and Brisbane, which have new facilities under construction, Melbourne has yet to even announce any new short term capacity increase or development.” (ANL website)

“I know the POMC has been looking at it, I know the Government has been considering it but we need a decision.”  (ANL managing director John Lines)

The Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce has also called for the Government to act.

“We’re also in need of more immediate fixes. Swanson Dock is already close to capacity and is struggling to cope with the larger ships who reach the port, because those ships have trouble turning in the Swanson Dock basin. We’d urge examination of works at Swanson and/or Webb Docks over the next four to five years to lessen this strain, while we wait for construction to be completed at Hastings.” (VECCI, media release, 1 June, 2011)

While Mr Napthine has said he expected to be able to give “an indication of the Government’s direction later in the year (2011), the industry is still waiting to hear what these plans are.

“The Baillieu Government needs to stop dithering and start explaining how it will deal with these concerns,” Mr Pallas said.

“With the Port of Hastings now up to 15 years and $10 billion away from container handling capacity, Victorians need a solution now.”

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