What is the Napthine government saying about Westernport?

August 2013

Blue Wedges members recently met with the Minister for Ports, David Hodgett.

The Minister was adamant that the expansion of Hastings Port was going to happen, and that if we were there to talk about alternatives, (such as the Bay West Werribee port idea touted recently by ex Toll holdings chief Paul Little), not to bother. Of course we were not there to talk about Bay West, because it is just another bad idea from the business as usual dinosaurs and deserves no oxygen.


The Minister confirmed that his department is working on the assumption of 9+ million per annum by mid century at the Port of Hastings as well as 5.1 million containers per annum at the Port of Melbourne by 2021. He assured us these were conservative figures from research conducted by reputable sources.

This prompted us to raise our concerns about the current EES process being partisan. Under current arrangement the economic analysis and scientific research for all projects is funded and undertaken by the proponent. We say these assessments should be managed by an independent body- not the entity who wants to do the project.

We really do wonder whether Minister Hodgett will ever consider how Victoria could possibly cope with 14 million containers per annum within 40 years- a sixfold increase in our current throughput (of approx. 2.4 million containers per annum).

Consider these facts:

Victoria 2013: Population is approx. 5.6 million. We import/export approx. 2.4 million containers per annum through the Port of Melbourne. So, that is approx. 0.4 containers per person per year.

Victoria mid century: Population estimate approx 8.5 million (ABS data). That is a 62% increase on 2013.

According to the Minister, Hastings and Port of Melbourne combined will be handling approx. 14 million containers p.a. That is approx. 1.7 containers per head of population, and a 400% increase on 2013.

What industries and economic activities could possibly support this 6 fold increase in container numbers and quadrupling of our current consumption from 0.4 containers to 1.7 containers per person per annum?

(It is interesting to note that total UK container ports currently handle less than 10 million containers p.a, with a total UK population approx. 60 million - see Footnote 1)

Are there plans for Gippsland brown coal to be exported through Hastings?

We did not get a clear answer to those questions.


1. From UK National Archives- UK Port demand forecasts to 2030.pdf

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