Wednesday 21st Nov, 2018

Contentious developments near Port of Melbourne says Chamber

The issue of urban encroachment has been raised in a report by a leading business group

CONTENTIOUS developments approved near the Port of Melbourne threaten long term efficiency, a new report states.

The report, Gearing up to improve Victoria’s transport system, was commissioned by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and provides a broad analysis of issues and themes facing transport and logistics in the state.

According to the report, demand for land to develop residential properties and for pedestrian access was increasing in line with a rising population.

“As the Port of Melbourne is located close to the city, developments are increasingly encroaching on the port,” the report stated.

“This threatens to prevent the port from operating efficiently and creates safety concerns for residents.”

They noted WorkSafe Victoria had dedicated guidelines to ensure land use planning minimised exposure of people close to a major hazard facility, including the Port of Melbourne.

Despite these guidelines, land developments are said to be “constantly threatening the efficiency of the Port of Melbourne”.

Three recently proposed developments described as “contentious” are:

  • Café at 90-96 Maribyrnong Street, Footscray which has been approved by the council but is being considered by VCAT as it is 200 metres from the Port of Melbourne Coode Island Precinct
  • A proposed 90 metre residential tower immediately west of the Bolte Bridge, 30 metres from the Port of Melbourne cement facility, a reservation for the Webb Dock Rail Link and a frontage to Lorimer Street (a high productivity freight vehicle route)
  • 122 dwellings at 187 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, which have been approved by the local council and are 30 metres from the border of the Webb Dock Precinct and frontages to Todd Road and Williamstown Road.

Ports Australia chief executive Mike Gallacher said the VECCI report recognised “the role the Port of Melbourne has played and continues to play in the development and prosperity of the Victorian economy”.

“A national framework that prioritises the protection of areas around the Port from changing land uses will help supply chain effectiveness and inevitably reduce the cost of living for Australian business,” Mr Gallacher said.

“As Australia’s population growths so too does the freight task, protecting the ability of the Port to operate at optimal capacity protects the county’s ability to supply the demand created by the growing population.

“As more and more Australians desire a lifestyle near the cost state planning systems are increasingly under pressure from developers seeking to turn this economically crucial land into residential accommodation. It is critical that state and local governments resist these short-sighted developments.”

Chamber chief executive Mark Stone AM said the report, developed by the Victorian Chamber in partnership with industry experts and led by Brian Negus, sets out how Victoria’s transport system can meet the challenges of strong population and trade growth.

“Victoria has a good transport system but it needs to be developed to manage forecast strong population and trade growth, with Victoria’s population projected to increase from 5.9m to 10.1m people by 2051,” he said.

“The recommendations contained within the Transport Taskforce Report strengthen the economy, support trade and investment, boost tourism, help get people to where jobs are and improve liveability across the state.”

The report can be viewed on the Chamber website.

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