The Port of Hastings Development Authority has hit the ground running this year with summer seagrass, water quality and water bird sampling underway, Minister for Ports David Hodgett announced.
“We have got a busy year ahead for the Port of Hastings container expansion project and we are getting on with undertaking the necessary environmental studies and planning for Victoria’s second world-class container port,” Mr Hodgett said. “The Victorian Coalition Government has provided $110 million to kick start development of the port and has enabled on-the-ground investigations to commence.”
Member for Hastings Neale Burgess said that the ball was really starting to get rolling on the redevelopment at the Port of Hastings.
“With marine geotechnical and geophysical surveys in progress since December, and summer data collection now underway, the process has begun to gathering the vital information needed to plan for containers at the Port of Hastings,” Mr Burgess said. Scientists will begin by studying seagrass beds and surveying seagrass species. Water quality monitors and light loggers will measure turbidity, light, water temperature, depth and salinity, to complement the seagrass survey. A water bird monitoring program will also record water bird populations and their habitat use in and around the port expansion area. Port of Hastings Development Authority CEO Mike Lean welcomed this first new step for 2014. “Collecting current information on the ecology of Western Port in and around the port expansion area is a corner-stone of environmental investigations for the container expansion project. These summer baseline surveys are the first steps to achieve this,” Mr Lean said.
“This year, the Authority will embark on a detailed period of study to understand the current environmental, social and economic conditions of the Western Port region. This period will be crucial to completing a comprehensive assessment of the container expansion project over the coming years.”
Mr Hodgett said the Port of Hastings development will boost the State’s economy and ensure Victoria remains the freight and logistics capital of Australia.
“Victoria’s container trade is continuing to grow between five and six per cent annually and is expected to double in the next decade. Without investing to meet future demand, the State will reach capacity by the mid-2020s, even with the benefit of the current expansion project at the Port of Melbourne,” Mr Hodgett said.
“When completed, this multi-billion dollar development will ultimately provide capacity for at least 9 million containers, which is almost four times the current volume going through the Port of Melbourne.”
Press Release, January 24, 2014