Minister for Ports David Hodgett today called on Shadow Ports Minister Natalie Hutchins to face him in a debate on the Coalition Government and the Labor Opposition’s opposing policies for Victoria’s second container port.
The Coalition Government has already commenced planning works for a second container port at Hastings with funding of $110 million in the 2013/14 State Budget. The Labor Party prefers a ‘Bay West’ location and is going to the State Election promising to pursue this option.
Mr Hodgett said that the Coalition Government and the Opposition proposals are of interest to communities in Geelong and Hastings, and debates were a perfect opportunity to give both communities all the facts.
“The location of Victoria’s second container port will have major implications for Victoria and the future of our state’s economy,” Mr Hodgett said.
“The Coalition Government has been clear and consistent in stating that Hastings is the only viable location for our second container port.
“The time has come for both myself and the Shadow Ports Minister to stand up in front of the communities of Geelong and Hastings and explain our visions for Victoria’s long term port developments.”
Mr Hodgett proposed two debates – one in Geelong and another in Hastings – giving both communities the opportunity to consider the issue and focus on the impact these policies will have on them.
“I believe these debates should be independently moderated by the Committee for Geelong and the Western Port Chamber of Commerce respectively. If Ms Hutchins has a proposal for an alternative moderator, I would happily consider her suggestion,” Mr Hodgett said.
“This is a major issue for Victoria, and particularly for the people of Hastings and Geelong. They deserve the opportunity to hear details of the alternative policies, and I look forward to giving them that opportunity.
“I look forward to Ms Hutchins accepting my invitation to participate in these debates at a time and location suitable for us both,” Mr Hodgett said.