11th June 2010
The Ports Integration Bill, enabling the merger of the Port of Melbourne and the Port of Hastings Corporations, will be debated next week in the Upper House.
Catherine Manning Southern Victoria Community Action Group (SVCAG) says this legislation is not good news for the people of Hastings and its hinterland, or the many inhabitants of Westernport Bay.  "Despite emerging concerns about population growth, and dire climate change effects predicted for the Westernport region, Mr. Brumby and his Minister for Ports Tim Pallas, have an outdated “vision” from the Bolte days of turning Westernport into the Ruhr of Victoria.  Starting with the massive expansion of the Port of Hastings into a major industrial hub operating as Melbourne’s second container port, within the next 30 years.”
Jenny Warfe Blue Wedges Coalition agrees the merger of two Port Corporations is not good news. The possibility of a 150 km coal pipeline to the Port, major road upgrades and Westernport Freeway expansion, a Bitumen Plant at Crib Point and a major container port are all part of what we say is a bad dream, not a vision for the area.
Catherine and Jenny say that the morphing of the two Port Corporations into one has prompted them to announce that SVCAG will merge with Blue Wedges to become part of the Blue Wedges Coalition. “Considerable knowledge and expertise has been gathered in our respective campaigns to protect Port Phillip and Westernport Bays over recent years and it’s all too likely the same tactics, experts, concepts and deceptive language will be crafted into the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) for the Port of Hastings as was used in the Channel Deepening Project. It makes sense for our two groups to work as one”, they say.
Mr. Brumby’s present plan for the Port of Hastings[1] envisages that within 10 years, Stage 1 development would deliver three additional berths for cars and general cargo. After that, (2020 -2035), major container facilities for international trade would cater for 3.8 million containers per annum and 640,000 cars with 3,500 truck trips and 16 goods trains per day. YES PER DAY! By 2035 Hastings would be pumping out twice the current throughput of the Port of Melbourne, which already works 24/7. 
So, Hastings won’t just be a little bit busier; it could be twice as bad as what living near the Port of Melbourne is today. But, in opposing the legislation, the Lib/Nat Coalition says that’s not fast enough, and that the Port of Hastings should compete with the PoMC to provide for even more container throughput even faster! (See:
Regardless of whether it’s the Libs or the Labs in control of the new mega Ports of Melbourne Corporation, quality of life for the residents of the Westernport region, and all other species reliant on that area is looking pretty grim.
It’s time to take the campaign to the next level. It’s clear both parties want to turn the region into a polluted mega industrial zone. The beautiful internationally renowned Ramsar listed Westernport Bay must be protected from being exposed to risks similar to what we are currently seeing in the Gulf of Mexico, say Catherine and Jenny.  
 For more information:

[1]Port of Hastings Land Use and Transport Strategy August 2009



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