Of course the rail to Hastings port threatens homes!

It’s seven years since community groups started raising the alarm about the then Brumby government’s proposed rail and road corridors to the Port of Hastings. Now The Age is all over it.

April 2013

See: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/rail-plan-threatens-homes-20130422-2iasd.html

Former Ports Minister Tim Pallas went on to launch the Port of Hastings Strategy in 2009 at the Port of Hastings (which many of us attended) to hear him speak so enthusiastically about how the expansion of the Port of Hastings was so necessary and desirable. When asked about alternatives, he said there was no “Plan B”. Now he opines that Hastings expansion is ill advised and Bay West is the go, recently saying: “Yet the Baillieu Government refuses to consider an alternative to Hastings and instead Victorians could end up with a costly and less effective second port”. But- back in 2009 in his introduction to the PoH Land Use and Transport Strategy document, Minister Pallas said: "No other port location offers the same overall advantages as Hastings, and it holds major economic potential for the State of Victoria".

Likewise, when in Opposition, Terry Mulder said B Double trucks on our roads was a stupid idea. Now he’s the Minister for Transport he’s signing off on it, without any credible explanation for his somersault. It really is tiresome being treated like dull school children by pygmy politicians. The Napthine plan for Hastings is the Brumby/Pallas Plan dusted off. And it’s all predicated on the same 19th Century mentality that got us into the mess we are in today- digging holes and shuffling more and more stuff back and forth. The unexamined issues are: Victoria’s population is projected to increase to ~ 7 million by 2030. At present there are approx. 5.7 million people in Victoria, and approx. 2.4 million containers p.a. move through the Port of Melbourne. So we consume/export a bit less than half a container load per capita p.a. By 2030, container numbers are estimated (by port expansion planners) to be somewhere between 7-8 million at the POM p.a. and a further 3.8 million at Hastings p.a. So we would have around 12 million containers p.a. moving through Victoria. We make that almost 2 containers per capita p.a. by the 2030s – almost quadrupling the volume of containers moved and consumed.

How can we possibly consume/produce four times as many container loads of stuff by 2030? Where are we going to put all this stuff, how are we going to afford it, how are we going to cope with the exponential increase in road and rail traffic, and where are we going to store all those empty containers? And why should we have to offer up our homes and irreplaceable environmental assets to keep our Ponzi style economic system afloat for a bit longer? And then there’s the air and GHG pollution from all that additional transport and consumption activity. Isn’t there a better way to achieve a good life and run an economy? (Interestingly – Total UK container ports handle ~8 million containers p.a. with a UK population of approx. 60 million……which makes our future look pretty grim, dominated by millions of containers shuffling through our suburbs and once peaceful open space).

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