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Adelaide, a backwater « Previous | |Next »
February 3, 2008

If Adelaide is a backwater then Melbourne is so modern. The latter will drift into a backwater like Adelaide if it fails to make big investment in infrastructure such as deepening Port Philip Bay for super size container ships to use the Port of Melbourne. You have to keep up with the times and adapt to the flows of global market forces. Adelaide stands as a warning what happens if you don't keep on your toes and remain modern. That's progress.

Melbourneharbordredging.jpg Matt Golding

So says Victorian Premier John Brumby. Victoria would end up as a "backwater'' like Adelaide if it didn't proceed with channel-deepening in Port Phillip Bay. The $1 billion dredging project:

is very important to Melbourne, it's very important to Victoria. If you want Melbourne to be a backwater, if you want Melbourne eventually to be an Adelaide - as someone described it the other day - well, don't do this project, and Melbourne will just die a slow death.

Adelaide, therefore, is dying a slow death; one that has lead the rust-bucket state to becoming a backwater.

Brumby's argument is that the shipping channels in Port Philip Bay aren't deep enough for many of the world's cargo ships to load to full capacity at the Port of Melbourne. So deepening the shipping channels is necessary for the economic long-term economic future of Victoria. Business says that it needs to engage with the rest of the world in making sure its exports (manufactured goods) are available to the wider world market and to expanding the markets for Victorian goods.

The contentious Port Phillip Bay channel dredging plan has limits. The dredging is an interim measure, as channels would have to be deepened again in 15 years as ships got even bigger. Why doesn't the State Government focus on making Hastings the destination for larger ships while Melbourne remains a hub for other shipping. Hastings, in Western Port, can take large ships without dredging.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:09 PM | | Comments (1)


Bill Russell's Melbourne's port woes need a rail solution on the ABC news site is a good one. He says:

Melbourne is Australia's largest container port, with a very rapid growth trajectory... This level of traffic needs efficient and large capacity ships, handling facilities, trucks and trains if it is to be handled at least financial and social cost.Such a level of container traffic points to very serious environmental issues on land, if most of these containers are to pass through Melbourne's suburbs by truck. Already, with 2 million containers passing through the port, and only 17 per cent of these going by rail, there are choke points on the road and freeway system.

He gives examples"
Francis Street Yarraville, a major truck route from the port, is subject to a night truck curfew but is close to uninhabitable. The Western Ring Road often presents a wall of speeding trucks, where private motorists venture at their own risk.

He says that this burgeoning traffic, symptomatic of a strong economy, be managed in a way that doesn't choke the city by investing in rail. This is what the Bracks /Brumby government hasn't done re Port Melbourne or Hastings.