The Victorian Government has addressed recommendations for the future of the state’s ports outlined in the Independent Review of the Victorian Ports System, setting out three main areas of action.
The key areas of focus are establishing Ports Victoria, creating Ports Victoria’s legislative charter, and outlining key reforms, including pilotage and towage services.
The three outcomes were developed based on the 63 recommendations from the Independent Review of the Victorian Ports System, the first holistic review since 2001.
The review considered the significant changes that have been introduced since then, including a third stevedore in 2015 and the leasing of the Port of Melbourne in 2016.
The review also included extensive consultation across industry and stakeholders, including commercial port and local port operators, with its outcomes set to strengthen the future of the state’s economy, backing our exporters and supporting jobs.
Victorian Minister for Port and Freight, Melissa Horne, said, “Commercial ports across Victoria support around $26 billion in locally produced and manufactured exports –handling almost a quarter of Australia’s total food and fibre exports.”
“Victorian ports are our gateway to international markets, and with freight volumes expected to more than double over the next three decades, we must have the right infrastructure and policies in place to support Victoria’s growing economy.
“We have already started making key recommendations from the review a reality –including establishing the new Geelong-based organisation, Ports Victoria.”
Ports Victoria was created to lead the strategic management and operation of Victorian commercial ports and waterways. Headquartered in Geelong, its location recognises the city as Victoria’s regional centre for maritime excellence and its important role in the state’s ports system through GeelongPort and the future relocation of the Spirit of Tasmania.
There will also be legislative reforms to ensure safety roles and functions are reliable and consistently applied across commercial ports. The new legislation will include making Ports Victoria responsible for overseeing the accountability of harbour masters across the state.
Work will commence soon on the Victorian Commercial Ports Strategy, recommended in the review to provide clear direction on the role of current and future commercial ports in the management of the state’s growing freight task.
The strategy will also explore trade and industry trends impacting the sector, the capacity of Victorian ports, the transport links and channels that support them, plus the port land-use protections and settings to safeguard current and future port operations.
The Department of Transport is also implementing the Sustainable Local Ports Framework as a critical first step to improve local ports management.
Local ports support almost 10,000 jobs, contribute around $1 billion in economic benefit every year and have a total replacement value of $650 million.