Jobs could flow from marine ‘precinct’


“STREAMLINED” planning controls look set to be adopted to create a “marine industry precinct” between Hastings and Somerville.

The proposed 50-hectare site is on Bungower Road West, about four kilometres inland from the privately-owned Yaringa Boat Harbour.

The marine industry is seen as a key economic growth area for the Mornington Peninsula, having over the past 10 years increased its output from 3 per cent to 13 per cent of the peninsula’s total manufacturing production.

There are existing plans to extend Yaringa and Mornington-based Hart Marine is moving to the harbour’s existing marine services area (“Shipbuilder setting sail for Yaringa” The News 10/12/18).

“We have been expanding and buying up neighbouring factories around us in [Yuilles Road] Mornington, but we need water,” Hart Marine Mal Hart said. “Mornington was getting smaller while our boats are getting bigger.”

Mornington Peninsula Shire will now call for public comment on its plan for a dedicated marine industry area.

The decision to push for a marine industry precinct is the shire’s second recent bid to free up part of 3500 hectares of land around Hastings set aside for port related purposes.

Frozen for years in anticipation of land needed to service a vastly expanded Port of Hastings, the shire also wants 400 hectares released for light industry.

A report by economic development coordinator Anita Buczkowsky to the shire’s 25 June meeting identifies marine manufacturing as an “important driver of growth for the regional economy”.

However, the growth of the marine industry on the peninsula was being stunted by a lack of suitably zoned land.

“The establishment of a new marine industry precinct would help activate and drive new investment, grow employment and increase gross regional prod-uct,” Ms Buczkowsky stated.

She said an economic benefit assessment showed the Bungower Road site could provide a potential 1807 jobs with a further 1556 jobs being created elsewhere on the peninsula.

“This uplift in jobs would deliver an estimated $511.3 million in potential economic output,” she said.

Consultants hired by the shire ruled out a marine precinct on the Port Phillip side of the peninsula, even though there were established businesses at Mornington, Safety Beach, Rosebud and Sorrento.

They said the “existing marine cluster locations” had no significant room for expansion.

“Additionally, due to the sensitive coastal and marine environment, as well as the extent of land use and development along both the Western Port and Port Phillip coastlines, the capacity to establish a new marine industry precinct on land holdings with water frontage was limited,” Ms Buczkowsky.

Turning their attention to Western Port, the consultants narrowed their search to three locations in an “area [with] the potential to capitalise on the proximity of the existing waterside infrastructure and the facilities at Yaringa harbour and has access to key transport routes such as the Western Port Highway and Peninsula Link”.

Yaringa provided “a logical focal point for the establishment of a new marine industry”.

Ms Buczkowsky said the Port of Hastings Development Authority saw Bungower Road as “one of the transport options that may potentially connect with Peninsula Link” while the shire’s traffic and transport team will investigate the need for a double carriageway on part of the road.

First published in the Mornington News – 25 June 2019