A letter from Kevin Chambers (Sentinel-Times, 1/07/14) contains several errors in regard to the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act and the recent ‘declaration’ of the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project by the Victorian Government.
The ‘Declaration’ under the MTPF Act simply means that the three to four years’ worth of studies into the proposed container project at Hastings may begin.
These comprehensive technical reports include assessments of the project’s environmental, transport, economic, social and design impacts.
Data from these reports will be shared with the community and other interested stakeholders at appropriate points during the process to ensure that all concerns can be raised and considered.
The Port of Hastings Development Authority also runs regular sessions with stakeholder groups through our PORTicipate engagement network and the Council Advisory Group.
We also provide regular updates on the project’s progress at community, industry and local and state government functions.
Further, the MTPF Act, as described by Ports Minister David Hodgett in a recent statement, is “designed to provide a streamlined approach to the assessment, approval and delivery of significant transport infrastructure projects. It establishes a one-stop-shop assessment and approval process whilst protecting environmental values. It does not create a bypass for common input.”
The Act was introduced in 2009 and addressed a need in Victoria for a fully coordinated assessment and approval process in relation to all the regulatory requirements needed to enable the undertaking of major transport projects.
It allows the Minister for Planning to give approvals under other Victorian Acts (covered by the MTPF Act).
The Act also provides a transparent process that is less complex and easier to understand and the Minister for Planning is required to give public notice of key decisions, make decisions within statutory time frames, and publish a statement of reasons for the approval decision.
The Act maintains planning, environment and heritage standards so as to ensure consistency of decisions and to safeguard Victoria’s planning, environment and heritage values.
Mike Lean, CEO, Port of Hastings Development Authority