Push for port


Push for port

MEMBERS of the Gippsland committee of Regional Development Australia have resolved to draw greater attention to the need for a bulk resources port in South Gippsland.
They met late last week to discuss the matter and will write to State and Federal ministers to that effect.
Committee chair Richard Elkington, told The Star the port would give south and wider Gippsland a major economic boost and help realise its potential as a national food bowl.
He said it’s all very well for the region to have resources such as land, water and coal, but products need a “route to market”.
Therefore, the feasibility of a port is worth investigating.
And that’s what his committee wants the State and Federal governments to do.
The chances of that have probably increased with the election of Peter Ryan to the State Ministry of Regional and Rural Development. He is on the record as recognising the merits of such a port.
For more than a decade, John Anthony has been trying to get such a port off the ground at Barry Beach.
Mr Elkington and some fellow RDA Gippsland members toured the port at the end of last month.
There is much to consider said Mr Elkington, but investigation is needed otherwise nothing will happen.
“The port is certainly one of the objectives of South Gippsland Council,” he said.
South Gippsland’s Cr Jennie Deane, is on the RDA Gippsland committee and was with Mr Elkington when he toured the port recently.
On a related front, the RDA committee is applying to its overriding body for the preparation of a food plan for Gippsland.
“We think Gippsland is particularly well positioned with skills, land and water for food production as an economic driver for Victoria and Australia,” Mr Elkington said.
Capturing all those advantages in a food plan will boost the Gippsland
He agreed food production is already an economic driver for the region, but the potential is far greater than is being realised.
“Given climate change, rainfall across Victoria may diminish, but it will diminish less in Gippsland.
“Tasmania describes itself as a food bowl; what’s Gippsland then?
Fellow committee member Alex Arbuthnot, chair of Agribusiness Gippsland is very keen on the food bowl idea.
“In my opinion, there is an opportunity to expand, export and establish more marketing co-operatives.
“There are articles in the press every day about the importance of food.
“Food and water are said to be the big investments of the future.
“We’d like a food plan for Gippsland this year,” he said.
“It’s going to be an action plan.
“Gippsland is recognised as a key food region. We have the capacity to attract millions in investment, the food processors here to create wealth, jobs and millions more dollars in export.
“The food industry in Gippsland has also contributed to a reduction in carbon.
“Skills development and relevant educational provision is in place to support the above.”
Mr Arbuthnot said the first part of the food plan would collect data on agribusiness and farmers in the region. The second would address the question: what are the opportunities?
Mr Elkington said the plan was “largely about gearing the leaders of government to recognising and marketing Gippsland as an attractive location for investment in food”.
Value adding, or the processing of food is part of the picture.

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Posted by on Feb 8 2011. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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