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Tuesday, 01 December 2015 15:23

Great South Coast seeks greater share of port sale proceeds

The Great South Coast Group has today stepped up its campaign for a greater share of Port of Melbourne lease proceeds with personal representations to the Victorian Treasurer.

Great South Coast Chair Cr Colin Ryan and Executive Officer Karen Foster met with Treasurer Tim Pallas in Melbourne this morning urging Mr Pallas to allocate a higher proportion of funds from the proposed sale to regional Victoria.

"Mr Pallas told us that he recognised and accepted that more needs to be done to support rural and regional Victoria," Cr Ryan said.

"I can't speak for all of regional Victoria, but we believe that regions such as ours, which are significant economic contributors to this State, deserve a bigger share of the port sale funds," Cr Ryan said.

This was a message Cr Ryan took to the Port of Melbourne Select Enquiry in Horsham in September, during which he outlined the Great South Coast Group's views in relation to the proposed port sale.

"Generally speaking, our region is supportive of the plan to lease the Port of Melbourne," he said.

"We understand that the Government has election commitments it has to fulfil, but as major contributors to our state economy, we simply say that, with our city cousins, we are equally deserving of benefit."

During today's meeting with the Treasurer, Cr Ryan outlined important infrastructure needs in the Great South Coast region, including the crumbling transport corridors leading to the Port of Portland during the meeting with the Treasurer.

"We are expecting a 700 per cent increase in forestry, alone, but our major roads are already broken."

Cr Ryan said Mr Pallas – one of the key architects of the Greater Green Triangle Freight Action Plan – had clear insights into the value of forestry and other key industries that relied on road transport within the region.

"We had a good hearing with the Treasurer – he seemed genuinely keen to make sure rural and regional Victoria gets a better share than what has been promised so far."

Earlier this year, the Andrews Government announced a $200 million Agriculture Investment and Jobs Fund (contingent upon the Port of Melbourne sale bill passing).

Cr Ryan said he also sought the Treasurer's support to lobby the Federal Government for the inclusion of Princes Highway West on the National Land Transport Network.

He said inclusion of the highway west of Colac to the South Australian border on this network could unlock important federal funds, lessening the burden on the State.

"The Princes Highway is a critical transport route, not only for freight and industry, but for tourism and for our regional communities.

"We have been working for some time with our Federal Member (for Wannon, Dan Tehan) for the Commonwealth to acknowledge this stretch of the highway as being nationally significant.

"It was encouraging to note the Victorian Treasurer's interest in pursuing this."

The Great South Coast Group is the peak advocacy body for the region bounded by the Shires of Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Glenelg and the City of Warrnambool.


Media Contact: Karen Foster, Mobile: 0407 312 836.

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