ALP Motion on the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee Report

Written on the 14 March 2012

Mr Tee (ALP) moved:

That this house requires the Minister for Planning to table in the Legislative Council by 12 noon on Tuesday, 27 March 2012, a copy of the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee report that, according to the Department of Planning and Community Development website, was submitted on 1 November 2010.

I am pleased to rise and contribute to the debate on Mr Tee's motion.


As we said, government members welcome a debate on any issue in relation to planning because it gives us an opportunity to remind members of the chamber, and indeed anyone else who is interested in planning issues, of what has gone on in Victoria. There has been a complete contrast between the current government and the current minister and the previous government and the former minister. The former planning processes were completely shambolic in many respects, and there is a legacy that many people have not forgotten about. In contrast, Mr Guy's understanding of planning and the way he undertakes his role as Minister for Planning are based on consultation. Despite what Mr Tee says, Mr Guy has provided clarity and he is giving certainty to businesses, communities and councils.


I want to take up a few points from Mr Tee's contribution in relation to the issues surrounding the port of Melbourne. Parts of the port of Melbourne are within my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region, and as Mr Tee rightly said, it is the largest container port in Australia and it services large parts of the southern area of Australia and brings major economic benefits to the state of Victoria. The port of Melbourne is critical to our export and import industry in that it handles within the vicinity of 37 per cent of the national container trade. More than 40 shipping lines come into the port of Melbourne each year, there are more than 3000 ship calls a year and the port provides services to ports in all major parts of the world.


Interestingly the port provides benefits not only from an export and trade perspective; it also has a huge tourism benefit. Only last week we saw the Queen Mary 2 dock at the port of Melbourne, and the tourists who came off the ship generated huge economic benefits for the Melbourne CBD and surrounding areas.


I did not get the opportunity to see the Queen Mary 2, but I believe it was absolutely spectacular and the roads were clogged with onlookers who wanted to see this extraordinary ship.


As Mr Tee and Ms Pennicuik said, the roads are congested around the port of Melbourne, and there is no doubt that we have to move trade. We have to enable trade to continue because of its economic benefits to this state. With the challenges we are faced with at both an international level through the high-rising dollar, with the various aspects of that that are affecting our global economies, and from a national perspective, businesses need all the support and certainty they can get. Added to that I think the federal government's looming carbon tax is going to increase the uncertainty for many businesses, so anything we can do to support trade and business growth will be absolutely imperative.


In his contribution to the debate Mr Tee spoke about decisions about the port being made today in relation to appropriate buffers. With that in mind I remind Mr Tee that the planning minister takes that issue seriously and has looked at appropriate buffers for wind farms, as he well knows. We have had that debate, and he has come in here and berated the minister time and again for his planning decisions around wind farms.


[Mr Barber interjected.]


I take up Mr Barber's interjection in relation to consulting with communities and putting in appropriate 2-kilometre zones -- --


[Mr Tee -- What about the Woodend community? They -- --]


In relation to that issue, Minister Guy went to the Victorian community and gave his plan for that. They voted on that, and that was the mandate. Mr Tee knows that. The minister has consulted; he continues to consult. He continues to support communities and councils and gives many of those local decisions back to the councils, as was indicated in the coalition's policy in the lead-up to the last election.


[Mr Tee -- They got no choice there.]


Mr Tee, the previous Minister for Planning, Mr Madden, ran a shambolic process in relation to many planning issues right across this state. I do not think you can absolutely -- --


[Honourable members interjecting.]


There was no process -- --


[Honourable members interjecting.]


[The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Tarlamis) -- Order!]


I will return to what I was saying. The minister has given clear certainty to the planning processes for many communities. He has undertaken a whole range of initiatives, including establishing an urban renewal authority that will identify any urban areas that may be suitable for large-scale urban renewal. This goes to the heart of this debate in relation to the port of Melbourne and the land issues that Mr Tee raised. This is about appropriate planning decisions that the minister said he would undertake and is continuing to undertake.


[Ms Pennicuik interjected.]


Ms Pennicuik, you just said 'Ha!'. Can I come to your contribution?


[Ms Pennicuik -- Please do.]


In your contribution you said you wanted to get freight onto rail and take trucks off roads; you said it was damaging the roads and causing accidents. I do not know how we are going to get freight moved around the state and around the world. Ms Pennicuik's remarks were extraordinary. She was supporting the port of Melbourne but then saying she would not support the port of Hastings because of environmental issues. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have appropriate levels of export and trade


going out of the state and goods coming into the state without the appropriate infrastructure, and part of the development of the port of Hastings is to support export trade.


[Ms PENNICUIK -- I have been misunderstood.]


That is what you said: you said the trucks are causing damage, and I could not agree with you more. There are large trucks that cause massive damage to roads, and we see that right across the western parts of Victoria in relation to the associated wind farms and the maintenance trucks that --


[Ms Pennicuik -- Wind farms!]


I am going back to that because I am talking about damage to roads.


[Mr Tee -- How is the Woodend community going? They want a wind farm.]


The port of Melbourne is a very effective port, as Mr O'Donohue said in his contribution to the debate. There are a number of ports in this state that contribute to the overall economy, and it is important to continue to highlight that our whole economic benefit does not just rely on one part of the state. There is the port of Hastings, there is the port of Melbourne and there is the port of Portland, and they all contribute enormously to the local and economic impacts on the state and more widely. We should be doing what we can to support those local communities, especially those ports.


In relation to Mr Tee's motion requesting that a copy of the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee report be tabled by Tuesday, 27 March, as Mr O'Donohue has said, the government will not be opposing the motion. It will be responding and reviewing the report, as is the normal process.


In conclusion I commend the Minister for Planning for the work he is undertaking in this area and again say what a contrast he is to the previous planning minister.

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