Andrews Puts Jobs and Economy at Risk, Says Minister (Australia)

Andrews Puts Jobs and Economy at Risk, Says Minister

Daniel Andrews’ back-flip on developing a second container port at the Port of Hastings will put thousands of Victorian jobs at risk and rip $1 billion from the state economy every year, according to premier.vic.gov.

Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said Labor should never again be trusted to manage the state’s network of commercial ports after their 11 years of delay and inaction caused a capacity crisis in Victoria’s freight sector.

The Victorian Coalition Government inherited a port network under extreme stress with trade growing exponentially and the Port of Melbourne quickly reaching capacity,” Dr Napthine said.

We acted quickly to address this crisis by announcing a $1.6 billion expansion of the Port of Melbourne to cater for short-term demand and setting up the Port of Hastings Development Authority to fast-track the development of a second container port to address medium term demand for additional capacity.

“The Port of Hastings has long had bi-partisan support as the preferred location for a second container port due to its abundance of port-zoned land, its status as an existing natural deep water working port and its proximity to major shipping channels in Bass Strait.

“The Labor Party’s latest flip-flop on port development is just another stain on their dismal record on ports and infrastructure in general,” Dr Napthine said.

Labor’s decision to abandon support for the development of Hastings comes despite former Labor Ports Minister Tim Pallas saying in 2009 ‘No other port location offers the same overall advantages as Hastings and it holds major economic potential for the state of Victoria’.

“Mr Pallas also said ‘The Port of Hastings is well positioned to serve as Melbourne’s second container port.”

Dr Napthine said Labor’s decision to abandon Hastings in favour of an alternative development to the west of the bay was seriously flawed.

“There is no question that Victoria will need a second container port when the Port of Melbourne reaches capacity in the mid 2020’s, but there is absolutely no way a Baywest development could be delivered in that timeframe,” Dr Napthine said.

“Without the development of Hastings, Victoria’s port network would reach capacity which would be a disaster. Thousands of jobs would be lost and Victoria’s GSP would lose approximately $1 billion a year.”

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Press Release, November 20, 2012

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