Port of Hastings development

I raise a matter for the Minister for Ports. The action I seek is that he provide the house with the government’s plan to accommodate the projected traffic that would be generated by the proposed container port located at Hastings.

An independent report by the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics at Victoria University entitled Build It — But Will They Come? was released in August. It shows that 70 per cent of Victoria’s freight would have to travel across metropolitan Melbourne to the proposed new container port at Hastings. Current demographic trends and the growth corridor policy for the expansion of Melbourne indicate that the largest population growth in the metropolitan Melbourne area will be to the west and north-west of the city.

Taking this into consideration and assuming that the industry works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this would mean that nearly 4200 trucks or 140 freight trains per day, every day, would have to find their way across metropolitan Melbourne via the existing road or rail networks if a container port was up and operable in Hastings.

According to Victoria University figures, a freight train would run every 10 minutes every day from Hastings to Tottenham rail yards in Melbourne’s west via Flinders Street station, forcing the widening of narrow rail cuttings through the suburbs of Malvern, Armadale and Toorak. To my knowledge, the Napthine government has no current plans to make any sort of infrastructure investment that would support or cater for these increased freight volumes that would be generated through a second container port located at Hastings.

According to this report, a container port at Hastings could increase freight travel time, travel costs and emissions to the environment by 95 per cent. Shockingly it would also potentially add $400 per container to the cost of freight and its movements — that is, we are talking about the doubling of the cost of moving freight into the future by locating a second container port almost 100 kilometres from the current port of Melbourne. This sort of burden could be crippling on the freight industry and could be especially crippling for Melbourne’s lead in the competition against other states.

I note some public comments that were made by the managing director of Qube Logistics, Maurice James, just last week at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event. He said that the port of Melbourne and Victoria have failed, and the Victorian government has failed, to facilitate effective freight movements through the port for the economic wellbeing of all Victorians. He also said that a platform of uncertainty has now been created in Victoria, which has led his company to question further investments in the freight industry in Victoria.