My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Ports, Dr Napthine, and it is in relation to the Geelong port. On 27 July 2011 the minister was in Geelong to officially launch a discussion paper released by the coalition government on the relocation of the roll-on, roll-off car trade from Melbourne to the port of Geelong. As described in the media release on the Premier’s website the following day, the discussion paper explained that this move ‘would significantly cut traffic crossing the West Gate Bridge and deliver thousands of jobs to Geelong’.
In the media release the minister is quoted as saying:
“A move to Geelong would also be a massive boost for the local economy with the discussion paper finding the increase in ship visits would ‘drive economic development in the region’. This means thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investment that would directly benefit Geelong and the surrounding area.
In addition to this the paper identifies Geelong as being well placed to take Victoria’s import and export car trade …”
At the media event in Geelong the minister glowingly endorsed the discussion paper findings in 2011; however, when the Premier was questioned during the last sitting week by the shadow Minister for Ports, Tim Pallas, the Premier refused to answer the question. When the opposition has tried to access the consultant’s report under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 it has been denied.
In opposition the coalition, including the current Minister for Ports, spoke very favourably of relocating the roll-on roll-off car trade from Melbourne to the port of Geelong. Now we cannot get a word out of this government at a time when Geelong residents are looking to the government for a plan to protect their jobs.
The action I seek is that the minister publicly come clean with the people of Geelong, indicate the government’s position on the relocation of the roll-on roll-off car trade from Melbourne to the port of Geelong and inform me of whether the government has met with the car manufacturers to discuss the impacts on productivity for the industry that will be caused by this potential move.