Press Releases

Contract worth $6 million awarded for Geelong dredging works

* * - Friday, February 21, 2014

The contract has been awarded for the multi-million dollar channel-widening work in Corio Bay as part of an ongoing push to improve safety, capacity and efficiency in the shipping lanes for the Port of Geelong, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Ports David Hodgett announced today.

Mr Hodgett said New Zealand-based Heron Construction Company had won a dredging tender to carry out channel-widening work at City Bend as part of a $6 million investment in the future of the Port of Geelong.

“Work is expected to begin mid-year and take about two months to complete,” Mr Hodgett said.

“As ships in the world fleet continue to grow in size, it is our job to ensure they have safe access to Geelong's port. This widening of the channel at City Bend is a key part in our plan to increase channel capacity as the port heads towards a forecasted doubling of trade by 2030.”

Mr Ryan said the project was further evidence of the Coalition Government supporting growth in the Geelong region and enhancing the trade capacity of the Port of Geelong, which benefits many grain and woodchip exporters in regional Victoria.

More than 650 ships are forecast to visit Geelong's port this financial year. A record 13.2 million tonnes of cargo valued at about $7.6 billion passed through the port last year,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Premier and Minister Hodgett were here in August to announce the major investment for the Corio Bay Channel Safety Adjustment Plan, further emphasising the Coalition Government’s commitment to the City of Geelong.

“The contract has been awarded after a comprehensive tender and regulatory approval process. The project must comply with a strict Environmental Management Plan.”

Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) Chief Executive Officer Captain Peter McGovern said the VRCA has also appointed specialist maritime contractor Waterway Constructions, based in Williamstown, to relocate navigation beacons at the dredging site before work begins.

“The contract includes maintenance and storage of the relocated state-of-the-art beacons and the placing of temporary beacons at City Bend while dredging occurs,” Captain McGovern said.

"It is wonderful to be able to draw on Victorian expertise as part of this important project.”

The VRCA, in consultation with the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, has carried out a series of studies in the past few years to ensure its channels network can meet future changes including a trend towards bigger ships that service the port's key trades and increased vessel numbers.

COALITION TO PROVIDE LONG-TERM SECURITY FOR VICTORIAN FORESTRY

Stephanie Ryan - Saturday, October 16, 2010
The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will guarantee the future of Victoria’s timber industry with a five-point plan to provide long-term security of supply.

Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan launched the policy during an address to the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) last night.

“The native timber industry contributes $6.5 billion each year to the Victorian economy and directly employs about 19,500 people,” Mr Ryan said.

“A Coalition Government will secure the long-term future of this vital industry, the people it employs and the towns whose economies it underpins.”

A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will:

  • Guarantee long-term access to current supplies of native timber;
  • Renew Regional Forest Agreements every five years to provide 20-year resource security;
  • Place VicForests under the sole direction of the Minister for Agriculture;
  • Restructure the board of VicForests to include industry stakeholders; and
  • Review harvesting rotations for faster growing native species such as mountain ash.
Mr Ryan said instead of supporting sustainable logging, Labor had undermined the effective operation of the industry by refusing to guarantee long-term supplies of native hardwood.

“The Coalition values Victoria’s forests and we will ensure they are managed in a way that is both responsible and sustainable,” Mr Ryan said.

“We will seek to balance industry and environmental concerns by supporting the expansion and growth of Victoria’s plantation forestry industry and ensuring the sustainable harvesting of wood to help meet increased demand.

“Timber towns such as Cann River, Orbost and Healesville need security in order to attract investment.

“The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will not support any further reductions in access to native timber.”

Mr Ryan said the commitment would provide security to the industry which had suffered severely under Labor.

“Labor has reduced the amount of available timber by an estimated 40 per cent, bringing about the closure of mills and the loss of hundreds of forestry jobs,” Mr Ryan said.

“John Brumby has refused to rule out further reductions in resource availability, opening the door to a complete end to native timber harvesting under a Labor-Greens Coalition.

“John Brumby’s failure to guarantee resource security is damaging Victoria’s timber towns which are still struggling to regroup after $600 million worth of standing timber was burnt in last year’s bushfires,” Mr Ryan said.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said under the Coalition’s plan, Regional Forest Agreements would be renewed.

“The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will support 20-year agreements to be revised and renewed every five years,” Mr Walsh said.

“We will restructure the board of VicForests to make sure those in decision-making roles are key industry stakeholders and place the authority under the sole direction of the Minister for Agriculture.

“This will make the Department of Primary Industries responsible for managing areas of public native forest which have been set aside for wood production.”

Mr Walsh said a Coalition Government would also review the current harvesting rotations of at least 80 years to investigate rotations of 50 to 55 years for some faster growing stands of timber such as mountain ash.

“The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will end Labor’s neglect of the sustainable timber industry, and provide long-term support and security,” Mr Walsh said.

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