BAILLIEU MUST INVESTIGATE BEST PORT OPTION FOR TAXPAYERS

Posted on 08. Jun, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government should investigate the cost-benefit analysis of a Bay West Port development against the Port of Hastings to ensure Victorians and industry get value for money, Shadow Minister for Ports, Major Projects and Infrastructure Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas in Parliament called on Ports Minister Dennis Napthine to review government plans for the Port of Hastings following expressions of industry concern over an untested government proposal to build the new container port at Hastings.

“Given the billions of dollars of taxpayers money Mr Napthine is looking to spend it is reasonable that the government produce a cost benefit analyse to justify their case,” Mr Pallas said.

“A LeadWest study prepared by AECOM says Hastings has major transport access challenges and it may increase traffic congestion on the West Gate corridor and there are hurdles around providing a standard access rail gauge to the port.   “The Victorian Freight and Logistics Council and the Property Council of Australia have now lined up in support of the consideration of a Bay West option which would also improve employment opportunities in the west.

“Bay West is in closer proximity to most importers/exporters, excellent rail and road connections and would relieve congestion on the West Gate Bridge and Monash Freeway.”

Mr Pallas said the government was well aware of industry concerns but had dismissed it out of hand, claiming it is an option that might be looked at in 50 years.

“The Port of Melbourne will reach capacity within the next 15 years, 50 years is a long time to wait before proper consideration is given to what might be the right option for Victorian taxpayers and industry,” he said.

“Given the $12.5 billion budget that would be needed for the Port of Hastings, an alternative option needs to be established for a cost-benefit analysis, and Bay West is the obvious one.

“Mr Napthine cannot avoid this, it is not in the interests of exporters/importers who incur extra costs and lose productivity by having their goods transported hundreds of extra kilometres across a major metropolitan area.

“It is not in the interests of motorists who would have to contend with extra freight on already congested roads.

“Bay West has emerged on the back of export industry and community views. It is appropriate that the government consider this option, publically produce a business case and a cost-benefit analysis comparing the Port Hastings and Bay West options and not dismiss the latter without due consideration.”

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