Category Archives: Local

Port of Melbourne lease amendments finalised

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The Liberal Nationals Coalition will support amendments to the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 and not oppose the passage of the amended Bill.

The Liberal Nationals have spent months ensuring the best deal possible for business, agricultural producers and consumers – both today and future generations.

Importantly the proposed amended Bill does not preclude the development of a second container port for Victoria after the adaptation of a reasonable compensation regime capped to the first fifteen years.

Further, at the insistence of the Liberal Nationals, up to $700 million will be spent on improving transport infrastructure in rural and regional areas instead of the government’s original plan to spend all the proceeds of sale in Melbourne.

The process engaged by the Upper House inquiry last year bought many critical issues to the attention of the Parliament. It is this evidence that has guided the Liberal Nationals position and as such, this evidence that has produced what is now a workable, reasonable outcome.

The Liberal Nationals acknowledge and thank all of those who contributed to the Upper House parliamentary inquiry, and the members of the committee.

See the list of Key Amendments as negotiated by the Liberal National Coalition at the following link: PoM Lease – Summary of Key Amendments

Dogs, and our local beaches

 

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The issue of dogs on beaches is one which has caused a degree of community angst over some years. This angst is driven by the competing uses of our beaches as well as the lack of enforcement options for dog owners who do not abide by the rules, causing problems for beachgoers, responsible dog owners and our wildlife.

Ostensibly, there are two separate issues here on the Mornington Peninsula and in my electorate of Nepean.  These issues are 1) the back beaches which are mostly part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park and 2) the Port Phillip Bay beaches which are Coastal Crown Land under the supervision of various committees of management.

First, dogs in the National Park have been allowed from before the land was a National Park nearly 40 years ago.  Before and since the declaration of the National Park it has been accepted as a significant recreational activity for dog owners to walk their dogs in the National Park, however this has increasingly been at odds with its international listing as being managed primarily for ecosystem conservation and appropriate recreation. (Parks Victoria)

As a result, environmental pressure has been mounting over recent years with the continuing decline of the native Hooded Plover, a nationally (Parks Victoria) significant shore nesting bird, which was last year added to the Threatened Species Register.

Parks Victoria commissioned a report in 2014 to investigate the decline of the Hooded Plover and produced a detailed report which identified dogs both on and off leash as being a significant contributing factor to the decline of this species, “…In the Mornington Peninsula National Park, breeding success spatial patterns appear most closely matched to the spatial distribution of frequency of occurrence of dogs off leash.” (Birdlife Australia)

In any event, it is my belief that dogs do not belong in National Parks and this is mostly the case in every other National Park around the country, particularly those which have threatened species that could or would be exacerbated by the presence of dogs.  The Mornington Peninsula National Park appears to be an anomaly that, in my view, should be addressed.

As such, I made a statement to the Parliament in February 2015 declaring that I would support a ban on dogs in the National Park (Dixon, 2015) should the current Minister Lisa Neville be so inclined to declare it.  In my view, a bipartisan position on this issue is crucial and I have been pleased with the cooperation to date from Minister Neville and her agencies.

The second issue regarding dogs on beaches is for the Port Phillip bayside beaches.  These beaches are more family oriented recreational beaches and dogs are generally allowed on these beaches during certain times and always on leash, except for some beaches where there are specific off leash zones.

Most of the coastal land is under various Committees of Management (CoM) however none of these, except if the CoM is the Shire, are in a position to enforce dog walking rules.  The Shire has no jurisdiction in volunteer CoM areas and unfortunately, there is a lack of funding for Dept of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) compliance officers to attend and issue infringements.  DELWP compliance officers currently attend to wildlife issues and in particular the illegal wildlife trade and have no time to enforce rules for dogs on recreational beaches.

Consequently, management of dogs in public recreation space is to say the least, ad hoc and disorganised.  It is this issue that is causing problems for both responsible dog owners and beachgoers alike.

During the 2015 – 2016 summer, DELWP have undertaken a review of Port Phillip beaches in the Mornington Peninsula Shire to try and first, establish consistent times and signage for dog walking and second, try to ascertain how best to ensure compliance.

In my view, compliance can only be enforced to be successful.  Voluntary compliance and ‘education’ campaigns have failed in the past as recalcitrant dog owners simply flout the rules knowing that the CoM is powerless to actually do anything.  This creates anger for beach goers and unfortunately our responsible dog owners are unfairly bearing the brunt of this anger.

In order to bring some order back into these issues, I will seek to ensure that DELWP are adequately funded to enforce dog walking compliance as soon as possible on the Port Phillip Bay beaches, and that Parks Vic are empowered and resourced to ban dogs completely from our National Parks.

I do not want to be part of the generation which has stood by and watched the extinction of Hooded Plovers from right under our noses, in one of our National Parks no less.

Bibliography

Birdlife Australia. (n.d.). birdlife.org.au. Retrieved March 2016, from http://birdlife.org.au/documents/BNB-Parks_Victoria_Managing_the_Hooded_Plover_Report_2014.pdf

Dixon, M. (2015, February 10). Parliament of Victoria Hansard – Page 115. Retrieved 2016, from http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Assembly_2015/Assembly_Daily_Extract_Tuesday_10_February_2015_from_Book_2.pdf

Parks Victoria. (n.d.). Parkweb.vic.gov.au. Retrieved March 2016, from http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/313356/Mornington-Peninsula-National-Park-and-Arthurs-Seat-State-Park-Plan.pdf

 

 

Port of Melbourne sale – more Labor stunts

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Today’s media stunt by Tim Pallas demonstrates again that this isn’t a government, it’s a circus.

This stunt is the sort of thing you’d expect to see in student politics and not from a state government.

The sale of a $6 billion plus public asset is a serious issue which deserves mature and sensible debate.

But instead of a mature and sensible debate, all we get from Tim Pallas is trickery, spin and political games.

The position of the Liberal Nationals Coalition has been consistent for several years.

Our long held position is that we support the sale of the port as well as the development of a second container port at Hastings.

This was our position in 2013 and this still remains our position.

In the interests of finding common ground with the government, we have agreed to give the government an effective 15 year monopoly from the commencement of the lease.

Labor’s position has changed several times over the same period. They initially supported the sale of the port as well as the development of a port at Hastings.

Then they changed their position with a preferred second port at Bay West.

Now they still support the sale of the port but do not want a second container port for 50 years.

Daniel Andrews and Labor have been playing politics with the Port of Melbourne sale for several years now and it’s time they put an end to the games and did the right thing by Victoria.

Mornington Peninsula well represented on Ministerial Advisory Committee

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Congratulations to our amazing Tracey Cooper for her elevation to the new Visitor Economy Ministerial Advisory Committee.

It was great to catch up with Tracey this morning at the RACV Cape Schanck resort with Minister John Eren for the turning of the first sod.

Tracey is an incredible advocate for all things tourism and is the driving force behind the fantastic results seen at last weeks Qantas Australian Tourism awards with 6 of our local operators picking up awards, 5 of them Gold!

Gold Award winners:

  • Sovereign Hill Major Tourist Attraction
  • 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival Major Festivals and Events
  • Fun4Kids Festival Festivals and Events
  • Searoad Ferries Major Tour and Transport Operators
  • Enchanted Adventure Garden and Tree Surfing Adventure Tourism
  • Wine Food Farmgate Destination Marketing
  • Stillwater at Crittenden Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services
  • Pizzini Wines Tourism Wines Cellar Door Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries
  • Drift House Luxury Accommodation
  • Green Olive at Red Hill Excellence in Food Tourism

Bronze Award winners:

  • Bendigo Tramways Cultural Tourism
  • Leisure Options Specialised Tourism Services
  • Aquabelle Apartments Self Contained Accommodation

The future of tourism on the Mornington Peninsula is in great hands and congratulations to all of our locals for this well deserved accolade.

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2015 Fishing Forum

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I am very pleased to host the 2015 Fishing Forum at the Sorrento RSL next Tuesday 27th October commencing 7:00pm.

There are a range of eminent speakers including Mr Travis Dowling, Executive Director Fisheries Victoria, representatives from VR Fish, Mornington Peninsula Shire and Dan Lee from the Compleat Angler in Rosebud with some great giveaways.

The Forum is an opportunity for recreational fishers to meet, greet and ask questions of the people who manage this sector and I am sure will be a very informative evening.

Thanks to the Sorrento/Portsea RSL for making their venue available and there will be food and drink available on the night for purchase.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Martin Dixon MP

 

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MATTHEW GUY EXTRACTS FROM DOORSTOP PARLIAMENT HOUSE MELBOURNE

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Monday 7 September 2015 Subject:  Housing for Syrian refugees at Point Nepean Quarantine Station

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Victoria has the ability to handle a great portion of some of the Syrian refugee intake that the Federal Government is now considering.

I’d hope that the Federal Government would consider expanding beyond the regular intake of refugees, some additional numbers – that will obviously be a decision for them but I’d encourage them to consider that.

Rather than just commentate I’d offer up a solution to the location for some of those refugees and that being the Point Nepean station at the end of the Mornington Peninsula. In 1998-99, the Kennett Government and the Howard Government managed to bring many hundreds of Kosovar refugees to that site.

If Daniel Andrews won’t do anything with that site then we should use it for good rather than letting it rot and how we could use it for good is use it to house in a peaceful environment many hundreds of Syrian families who are fleeing war and persecution and oppression.

If Daniel Andrews wants to let that site waste and run down, that’s not a good use of it. Let’s be constructive rather than just a commentator.

Let’s actually use that site for good, use it to house some of the hundreds of Syrian families fleeing war and persecution.

If we can bring them to Victoria, here’s the place we should bring them to. Many of the buildings are in better condition now than they were in the 1990s.

The previous Napthine Government actually invested some monies to upgrade the site.

FAST FACTS – INTERVIEW WITH DR HERMIONE PARSONS – INSTITUTE FOR SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS

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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH JON FAINE ON ABC 774 MONDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 015 Subject: Port of Melbourne lease – compensation likely under Andrews government lease plan

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Faine Dr Hermione Parsons is an associate professor at Victoria University.  She runs the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics and studies these things from a completely independent point of view.   When you’ve studied the details, what do we learn about the privatisation being proposed by the state government?

Parsons Well at the moment the proposal is as you say based on a 50-year lease with a potential 20-year extension.

It’s based on the view that the port will reach capacity at 8.4 million containers or TEU, 20-foot equivalent units.  That figure is not the figure that we believe is a realistic figure.  We believe the Port of Melbourne will reach capacity at 5.5 million at the most.

So what this means is that by our forecasting and our information, certainly this is very strongly I think supported by most people that I’m talking to across the industry, is that we will need a new port in about 15 to 20 years.

What my concern about, is that if compensation has to be paid to the new private port manager, and it’s a 50 year lease, that means that we would be paying compensation for say 20, 30 years of the lease.

Faine So why would we be up for compensation at all?

Parsons Because it would be, the clause at the moment is that if a new competitor port is to be developed before the lease would end, before that capacity is reached of 8 million – which we think is too high anyway – if a new port, which would be a competitor, must be developed before that, then compensation would be paid.

Which would mean that every container that crosses the wharf in the new port would have some dollar value to the new private manager of the Port of Melbourne.

So if we have a port say at Bay West or down to the west of the Werribee sort of area of Melbourne, if we had a new port there to deal with the capacity issues, then all of those containers would be a ‘dollar-click’, you know, a transaction ‘ker-ching’ sort of thing in the coffers of the private company that would be managing the current Port of Melbourne.

Faine Ok so why is the gap between… your forecasts and others are that the Melbourne Port has a capacity of five and a half million containers…

Parsons That’s right.

Faine …In fact the government’s saying the bidders should be bidding on the basis that it can turn over 8 million containers…

Parsons Yes.

Faine …Surely the key is to work out whose projections are right…  What does it do at the moment?

Parsons Well at the moment the projections, if you look at international benchmarking for the wharf capacity, then that certainly shows that it’s 5.5 million, not 8.4.

So we have enough information that shows international benchmark standards that the 8.4 is very escalated.

Faine So what they’re doing is they’re boosting the potential to try and get more in, more money in at the start – and say well that might cause a problem 20 years down the track – we’ll deal with that then.

Parsons So in a way you’re mortgaging the future for cash sales today.

Faine No government… are you saying privatisation would work that way? No!

Parsons Shocking, shocking.

Faine So what you do is you kind of inflate the value of the asset that you are selling by trying to exaggerate its capacity and that then leaves a problem 20 years from now for people to sort out if indeed those promises aren’t accurate.

Parsons That’s right.  That’s right.  And we’re very concerned about this in terms of say supply-chain costs.  Because these types of costs, like compensation payments, would be paid for either by taxpayers or by importers and exporters.  That means that our port becomes really uncompetitive and businesses working, Australian businesses working on global markets cannot afford these extra imposts of costs.  So probably it would mean businesses that rely on the Port of Melbourne would relocate away from Melbourne to go to more effective ports elsewhere. (Ends)

Point Nepean the victim of putting politics first

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I was astounded to see the extraordinary benefits to the State of Victoria, and our region, that have now been foregone by the Andrews Government after they cancelled the Point Leisure Group lease at Point Nepean.

  • Cost of Maintenance now being funded by the State: $45 million
  • Loss of Lease Income: $18.250 Million
  • Loss of Capital Investment to Spa, Hotel, Education Centre, Public Open Space etc: $90.5 Million

Without this investment, the National Park will simply deteriorate or the Andrew’s Government will need to raid school, health and/or police funding to pay for their folly.

While many people have tried to falsely claim this lease was some sort of pubic lock-out of the National Park for the rich, the facts speak for themselves that the lease agreement actually opened the quarantine station precinct to increased public access and would have preserved and enhanced this precinct for generations to come.

This decision by the Andrews Government to cancel the lease will have long term detrimental impacts to the Park and our region and the Premier has made this decision without any viable alternative or even any economic case to justify his decision.

As has been typical of the Government over recent months, they are making major long term decisions based on putting politics, not people, first.

The Government can try argue that they are merely fulfilling an election promise, but the promise was ill-founded, ill-informed and as the numbers demonstrate, a financial catastrophe for our region and the State as a whole.

Daniel Andrews ran his campaign promising jobs, training and education but he has proven that the loss of 400 local jobs is the price we have to pay to ensure he maintains political support from extreme factions within his own Party.

I challenge the Premier to produce the economic case for cancelling this lease and to explain how he can deliver an alternative, more viable and sustainable option for Pt Nepean.

Martin Dixon MP, Member for Nepean

 

Rosebud Pier restoration

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The Rosebud Pier upgrade, officially re-opening this week, is a project entirely approved and funded by the former Coalition Government from our last budget.

For years I lobbied the former Bracks and Brumby Govenments to repair the Rosebud Pier and they ignored the voice of our local community.

The pier remained closed for over two years before they were finally shamed into acting with a piecemeal repair in 2009.

The commitment to Rosebud and the Mornington Peninsula by the ALP has always been negligible and the delays and obfuscation regarding the Rosebud Pier upgrade is a case in point.

My advocacy for the current upgrade was only taken seriously after the Coalition Government was elected in 2011 and I am grateful to former Minister Smith for taking the concerns of Peninsula residents seriously.

While the Minister is basking in the glory for the current project, it is important for the community to understand that the Rosebud Pier upgrade was entirely conceived, approved and funded by the former Coalition Government.

Martin Dixon MP, Member for Nepean

FOI: Daniel Andrews flushes away another $2.6 million

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The facts:

A Freedom of Information search has revealed that Daniel Andrews paid $2.64 million to 17 workers made redundant from the Port of Hastings Development Authority.

That works out to an average redundancy payment of over $155,000 per former worker.

The Andrews Government has dumped plans by the Coalition Government to establish a second container port at Hastings.

The Port of Hastings Development Authority would have had a critical role in this project.

Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Ports, David Hodgett:

Yesterday we saw reports that Daniel Andrews wasted another $30 million to not build the East West Link, and today we learn he has spent another $2.6 million to not build the second container port at Hastings.

Daniel Andrews’ weakness is demonstrated by his inability to make up his mind on the second container port – and that is costing Victoria money, jobs and opportunities.

Daniel Andrews has just flushed another $2.6 million down the toilet because he won’t honour his election commitment to build a second container port.

This is money that could have been used to build a brand new ambulance station in a suburb or town that needs one.

These 17 jobs should never have been lost because a second container port is critical for Victoria’s economic future.