I rise to speak on the Transport Legislation Amendment (Port Reforms and Other Matters) Bill 2022. The port of Melbourne is Australia’s largest capital city container and general cargo port, handling more than one-third of this country’s container trade. The functioning of this port is absolutely critical to Victoria’s economic prosperity. I believe this bill will ensure that the port runs efficiently and effectively.
The introduction of Ports Victoria comes at a critical time. The port has seen significant growth these past few years. In fact over the decade from 2009 to 2019 the number of containers handled at the port increased by around 40 per cent. Of course, like all transport, it is important that there is integration across all services. These containers come and go to destinations across all of Victoria, and around 7 per cent of the port’s containers use rail for part of their journey to and from the port, with almost all of these related to regional Victoria and interstate export trade. 87 000 empty containers used rail on their journey to regional Victoria and interstate exporters, with some also travelling via road. I hope to see Ports Victoria take a holistic view of the port as a transport service and look to how other services, especially rail, are integrated to attain the highest productivity.
There is a significant proportion, some 27 per cent, of full international and mainland import container destinations to the outer south-east of Melbourne. This is the second-largest region for import container movements and points to the continued sharing of major arterial and freeway networks with passenger vehicles. This demonstrates the critical role of rail to the south-east. Congestion issues remain a concern for passenger vehicles, the road freight transport industry and shared rail networks. We need Ports Victoria and all transport departments to engage in careful planning for future freight rail use, preserving corridors of network capacity and working closely with passenger services where the network is shared. I commend this bill to the house.