Releasing the report of the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee, Mr Guy outlined new planning controls for the ports of Melbourne, Hastings, Geelong and Portland.
“Our ports make a significant contribution to Victoria’s economic growth and prosperity and it is important that there is a robust planning framework to support their growth,” Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy accepted a key recommendation of the Advisory Committee to implement a Port Zone which will specifically recognise the interests of the port and the port’s significance to the State of Victoria.
Victoria’s ports have experienced major growth due to significant increases in international trade and domestic economic growth. The Port of Melbourne alone is a significant infrastructure asset to the state and national economy. In 2009-10 the Port contributed $1.8 billion to the Victorian economy, $950 million to household incomes and provided 15,700 full time jobs.
Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the implementation of port zones was vital for the future prosperity of the Victorian economy.
“Every business in Victoria either directly or indirectly relies on a competitive and efficient commercial port network to import and export goods from this state,” Dr Napthine said.
“The Coalition Government has already announced the $1.2 billion expansion of the Port of Melbourne and moved to fast-track the development of Hastings as a second international container port.
“These new planning protections are another key element in our plan to secure the growth of the Victorian economy and support our freight and logistics industry,” Dr Napthine said.
A Port Zone will also ensure that the strategic and economic importance of each of Victoria’s trading ports to the state and the regions in which they sit is emphasised.
A new Ministerial Direction will also be introduced to prevent the encroachment of sensitive land uses (such as dwellings and hospitals) near the ports.
These planning controls will better protect both the operation and the expansion of the ports while protecting the amenity of residents and workers in areas proximate to the ports.
“There were a number of complex issues that needed resolution by a whole-of-Government approach and the respective departments have worked closely together to achieve good planning outcomes for the ports,” Mr Guy said.
The Department of Planning and Community Development will work with Port of Melbourne Corporation to develop further planning measures to account for the recently announced expansion of Webb Dock, which was not considered as part of the Advisory Committee’s scope.