THE state government is likely to drastically reduce the amount of land set aside for port related purposes around Hastings.
The decision to investigate using the land for non-port industries follows the decision to build a container port at Bay West, near Geelong.
Already under consideration is a 350 metre long multi-purpose double berth jetty to be built on 35 hectares of reclaimed land between the BlueScope and Esso jetties off Long Island Drive, Hastings.
The government has set a two-year time limit on reviewing how much of the “port-related” land should be kept and how much “unlocked”.
The Hastings Port Industrial Area stretches along the coastline of Western Port from Hanns Inlet in the south to Watsons Inlet in the north and extends up to four kilometres inland, but excludes land within the towns of Hastings, Crib Point, Bittern and Tyabb,
In its Navigating Our Port Futures – the Victorian Commercial Ports Strategy report, the government says “a broader economic development approach” would be “more appropriate” for the land around Hastings.
Hastings is seen as already playing an “important role as a trade gateway for bulk liquid products” and would remain “well-suited to support dry and liquid bulk trade, with deep approach channels and land set aside for further development”.
The Navigating Our Port Futures report says Hastings’ future lies with “general cargo” and “supporting the growth of several emerging trade opportunities”.
Options being “explored” include “supporting offshore wind, further development of onshore wind across Gippsland and building on the successful trial of the export of hydrogen to Japan”.
“There are also a range of other potential bulk and break bulk opportunities such as importing of aggregate construction materials which the Port of Hastings is also investigating.”
To clear the way for a re-evaluation of the port’s use the government has changed the name of the Port of Hastings Development Authority to the Port of Hastings Corporation.
Land set aside for port development within a special uses zone (SUZ1) is “is far larger than the declared port area and includes the entirety of the Esso and BlueScope Steel sites, a number of smaller industrial and rural uses and even a small proportion of residential properties”, according to the report.
“Whilst the large land reserves are strategically important and sections should remain protected, as time has passed, it has become clear that it is no longer necessary to retain the entirety of this SUZ1 area as being protected for port related industries,” the report states.
“A broader economic development approach for the use of this land would be more appropriate.
“If the land within SUZ1 that isn’t needed for port development were rezoned in partnership with [Mornington Peninsula Shire Council], the area may potentially be opened to a range of new industrial-based employment opportunities, in both traditional, and emerging higher value sectors including wind energy.”