Port Anthony Managing Director, John Anthony, joins South Gippsland Shire Council Deputy Mayor Cr Jeanette Harding welcoming
FORGET the car industry if you can; Port Anthony near Toora has the potential to generate up to 16,000 jobs state-wide when fully operational.
That’s one of the projections of a scoping study on the development of the South Gippsland port but before the naysayers start up again, they should be mindful of a very significant development there last weekend.
The first commercial vessel to arrive at the port, a service vessel for Origin Energy’s huge Bass Strait gas fields, tied up last Saturday morning, where it was welcomed by Port Anthony Managing Director John Anthony and South Gippsland Shire Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Jeanette Harding.
Cr Harding admitted to being “quite emotional” about the arrival of the ‘Far Supplier’, describing it as an important event “not only for South Gippsland and Gippsland but also for New South Wales and Victoria”.
“This is the start of something really big for us,” Cr Harding told the Sentinel-Times this week.
“We know about the developments that are happening in the Latrobe Valley and, in the future, the potential at Gelliondale but there’s already strong interest from companies wanting to use the port now,” she said.
“All the kudos must go to John for getting us to this stage and I was just so pleased for him when the ship tied up there last Saturday at 9.30am.
“I can tell you, there were quite a few tears.
“John has been working on this for 17 years and three months and I’ve been trying to help him for 16 so it was a big day and I was proud and delighted to be there to welcome the ship in.
“And this is just the beginning.”
Cr Harding said the 84m long ship, with a draft of 7m, came in to test operations at the port, which has recently been fully accredited and everything went smoothly.
“We’ve had a few knockers over the time, questioning how ‘a bloke from Korumburra’ could bring off such an ambitious project but you’ve got to have people with vision and an entrepreneurial spirit to make things happen and all credit to John for sticking with it.”
Mr Anthony also welcomed the arrival of the ship as a “significant development” after years of work but said he would prefer to leave it to Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, one of the facility’s main advocates, to say more about it when he arrived to officially open the facility early in the New Year.
In the meantime, Mr Ryan has described the arrival of the vessel as “the first of many”.
“We welcome the arrival of the first ship at Port Anthony, which I am sure will be the first of many to enter this new bulk goods port.”
Two years ago, Mr Ryan nailed his colours to the mast when he announced an allocation of $2 million towards the $20 million first stage of the project, claiming then that the new “bulk goods port” would provide upwards of 90 jobs over the next few years.
That number has since been scaled up with expectations that 100 to 150 people will be employed at Port Anthony within five years.
Continued page 6