The $1.6 billion Port Capacity Project has been given the go ahead following a decision by Planning Minister Matthew Guy to provide the planning approval for works to commence at Melbourne’s Webb Dock.
“The Port Capacity Project demonstrates the Coalition Government’s commitment to ensuring the Port of Melbourne remains Australia’s leading container, automotive and general cargo port,” Mr Guy said.
The planning process and amendments to the Melbourne and Port of Melbourne Planning Schemes stipulate the need for a landscaped buffer and the construction of noise walls to reduce the impacts of the operations on nearby communities.
“We have ensured that quality landscape and vegetation buffers be designed and constructed fulfilling the Port of Melbourne’s charter to deliver a vibrant, sustainable Port-City vision,” Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy confirmed that the Port of Melbourne Corporation will be required to comply with strict environmental standards to protect the Bay, waterways and the natural environment.
“During construction and eventual operation of the new port facilities new benchmarks for environmental standards and accountability will be set to provide the highest level of transparency and performance,” Mr Guy said.
Other approvals have been already been received from various government departments including the Commonwealth who has given the Project the green light under its Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the Coalition government was committed to ensuring Victoria maintained its status at the nation’s freight and logistics capital.
“The expansion of the Port will deliver substantial economic benefits to Victoria by providing 1,100 direct jobs and 1,900 indirect jobs while catering for the forecast demand in freight,” Dr Napthine said.
“After 11 years under a Labor Government who dithered, procrastinated and delayed on taking action to secure Victoria’s freight future, this decision to develop Webb Dock was required to prevent the state economy from going into meltdown due to debilitating congestion in our ports.”
“This decision means that the works at Webb Dock can now proceed, enabling Melbourne’s third container terminal and new world-class automotive facilities to be operational in late 2016.
“The Coalition Government is getting on with the job of providing necessary capacity to meet growing trade demands, generating additional employment, protecting existing jobs and growing the state’s economy.
“The Project will still focus heavily on the two things that are most important to the people of Melbourne; the delivery of world class buffers and the amenity benefits stemming from the competitive bidding process.
“The development of quality buffers around Webb Dock will continue to be designed and constructed and as part of the competitive bidding process, the bidders for the new terminals will address issues of noise, light spill, traffic management and the visual amenity of local communities,” Dr Napthine said.
An extensive consultation process involving the community and key stakeholders including local councils, relevant State Government departments, VicRoads, Friends of Westgate Park and port operators has been undertaken.
Press Release, February 22, 2013