BAILLIEU’S SUPER PORT SET TO BECOME A GHOST PORT

Posted on 13. Mar, 2012 in News

The Baillieu Government’s purported $10 billion Port of Hastings super port will become a ghost port when 40 stevedoring jobs disappear from the port this year, Shadow Minister for Ports Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas today met Maritime Union of Australia officials and stevedore workers to discuss the job cuts at Patrick Stevedores operations in Hastings that are in addition to the 200 job losses announced by BlueScope Steel last year.

“Premier Ted Baillieu’s failure to produce a jobs plan for Victoria is now hitting the Government’s so-called super port – the Port of Hastings,” Mr Pallas said.

“Despite the Baillieu Government’s spin, the port is losing business, forcing operators to cut existing jobs.

“In a small town the size of Hastings, 40 job losses will have a major impact on worker’s families and the wider community.”

“The port will become a ‘ghost port’ unless the Baillieu Government starts investing in jobs at Hastings now.”

Mr Pallas said the Baillieu Government’s planned upgrade of the Port of Hasting to handle container capacity was 15 years away.

“The people of Hastings can’t wait 15 years before the Baillieu Government does something to stop the jobs rot. They need a solution now,” Mr Pallas said.

“Also, Ports Minister Dennis Napthine is yet to explain where he will get the $10 billion to fund the project.”

Mr Pallas said from 1 July this year, the Baillieu Government will hit all Port of Melbourne users with a new super tax.

“The tax will deliver the Government a massive funding bonanza but this won’t fund urgently needed infrastructure upgrades to Victoria’s ports,” Mr Pallas said.

“The shipping industry says the Port of Melbourne is at capacity yet the Baillieu Government’s response is to tell them to sit tight because we are going to do something in 15 years time.

“Jobs will be put under further pressure unless Mr Napthine details long overdue plans to improve short to medium-term container capacity in Victoria.”

Mr Pallas said he expected Mr Napthine to break his promise to transfer Melbourne’s car import/export trade to the Port of Geelong and deliver 1000 new jobs for Geelong.

“The Baillieu Government’s port’s strategy is in a mess. More jobs losses are a certainty unless Mr Napthine fixes it soon,” he said.

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