Baillieu Set To Abandon Geelong Port For Car Trade
It appears the Baillieu Government has all but abandoned plans to relocate the export and import of cars from Webb Dock to the Port of Geelong after a massive lobbying effort from Victoria’s beleaguered car and shipping industry to block the move, the Shadow Minister for Ports, Tim Pallas, said today.
Mr Pallas said yesterday’s firm refusal by Premier Ted Baillieu in Parliament to support the car trades’ relocation to Geelong was a significant blow for the project given his Government’s enthusiastic support for the project previously.
“Clearly, the Baillieu Government has either decided to ditch moving the car trade to the Port of Geelong or is having serious doubts about whether or not it should,” Mr Pallas said.
“In Parliament today, I asked the Premier if he was still committed to the project or would he admit his promise was nothing more than a cruel hoax on the people of Geelong.
“In response, the Premier said:
In Opposition, we did indicate that we would conduct the review and look at the opportunities to relocate the car trade. That examination has been continuing and when it reaches a conclusion the Minister will make the appropriate announcements.”
Mr Pallas said Mr Baillieu’s cool words were in stark contrast to the Baillieu Government’s proud boast in a media release on 3 February last year headlined: Coalition Government’s massive jobs boost for Port of Geelong.
“The media release said the move would create 1000 jobs for Geelong and inject an extra $200 million to the local economy,” Mr Pallas said.
“Clearly it seems Mr Baillieu now has cold feet on the Geelong move,” Mr Pallas said.
“This comes at the worst time for people in Geelong, who are already facing massive job cuts at Alcoa, uncertainty around Ford’s long term future and public sector job cuts.
“Geelong needs a jobs plan from Mr Baillieu, not half-baked promises that come to nothing.”
Mr Pallas said Ports Minister Dennis Napthine shot down an Asciano proposal for Geelong to become Victoria’s second container port in December 2010.
“And now the expansion of the Port of Geelong looks dead in the water based on Mr Baillieu’s comments today,” Mr Pallas said.
“The Baillieu Government has no choice but to immediately release the feasibility study conducted by Sinclair Knight Mertz into the relocation and clear up this farce.”