CICCC Update—2 December 2010 Meeting

Conversation with Stephen Bradford

At the invitation of the Committee, Stephen Bradford, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) attended the meeting and provided a very interesting overview of issues concerning the port:

  • The economic outlookOver the last 10 years, imports and exports through the port have grown at about 8%, save for the impact of the Global Financial Crisis. That crisis is now over, and a record number of containers (217,000) were handled in October: PoMC expects the Port of Melbourne will handle about 2.3 million containers over the 2010-11 financial year. Future growth of overall trade through the port is anticipated to be about 6% compound, with the rule of thumb being that port traffic is generally about double GDP growth for that year. Imports are driven by retail goods and cars, and importers need weekly shipments to avoid the need for excessive storage capacity. The frequency of shipments for imports may increase in the future and this is dependent on the demand for imports which is driven by Victoria’s population growth. Exports have been strong historically for farm products and recyclable waste. Paper and glass waste is sent to
  • China for recyclingProgressively Victoria will be looking to the Port of Hastings to be developed to provide relief to the Port of Melbourne. At 6% growth an extra 2.3 million containers will need to be handled by 2022, requiring a large development at Hastings. By 2050 Hastings port could be bigger than Melbourne port.
  • Port capacity and future expansionShould trade through the Port of Melbourne continue to grow by 6% per year, approximately 8 million standard containers will be handled by 2035. Berths are at their practical capacity when berth occupancy rates are at 55% to 60%. While there are rarely ships waiting for a berth at present, due to the random nature of shipping, as occupancies approach the practical capacity queuing of ships increases.
  • Other issuesThe conversation ranged over communication problems with incoming chemical tankers, the role of other Victorian ports, land use buffers around the port, and utilisation of port land. The Committee was appreciative of the open communication by Stephen Bradford.

Emergency Management progress

Commander John Cranston (Community Safety, Central Zone), Commander Barry Gray and Senior Station Officer Shane Rhodes of the MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) attended the meeting at the invitation of the CICCC to discuss recent progress in emergency communications.

The CICCC had been advised of the draft document “Protective Action Decision Guide for Emergency Services During an Outdoor Toxic Gas Release” produced by the MFESB. This document, with perhaps minor alterations, reflects what should eventually be the accepted operating procedure for all Victorian emergency services. The document advocates a public education campaign encompassing the “Shelter, Shut & Listen” message to ensure a succinct and easy to follow procedure. The MFB officers provided detailed advice about the recently adopted emergency alerting system (NEWS) This system, which has been adopted nationally on the recommendation of the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission, involves the transmission of emergency alerts via voice to fixed phone lines and SMS to mobile services within a user defined boundary area.

Once the details of an emergency situation have been verified, an officer can define the boundary area using simple computer tools within 5 minutes. The pre-recorded message, tailored to suit the current situation, can be sent to 1,000 land lines per minute and up to 500 text messages per second, at a cost to the Emergency Services Agency of about 7 cents per landline and 11 cents per text message. This represents an huge step forwards in the targeted provision of detailed information and advice to those in harms way.

Termination of TGCCC

George Horman outlined the background to the termination of the TGCCC at Geelong on 11 October 2010. The wording of a public statement by Terminals is reproduced below.

“For some time Terminals has thought that the TGCCC engagement model has not been effective and could be improved for both TPL & the community and also the regulatory agencies, local business neighbours and the Geelong Council.”Recently we have reviewed the operation of the TGCCC and compared it against other models in the Geelong area and interstate.

“While the new EPA licence no longer requires EIP’s & community consultation, Terminals remains committed to maintaining this in the most effective way possible.  After much consideration we have decided to form a new Community Engagement Group (CEG), which will be broadly based to reflect our ambitions in the community area and also ensure our advisory structures play a more active and effective role in addressing key stakeholder issues.  It will include a business representative, preferably a local business near our facility.

“While appreciating the input of the current Community Consultative committee we feel a group more reflective of the wider Geelong community will better serve this company and the city of Geelong.

“Be assured we have no plans to change the existing CICCC committee as we feel that group has caused and continues to cause Terminals to be a better company, accountable for it’s actions and ensures that the regulators are diligent. It also ensures improvements and additions are done to the most appropriate standards and this is achieved in the best of good faith.”

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 17 March 2011 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. At that meeting the 2009 Annual Report to EPA will be discussed. Any interested member of the community is welcome to attend the CICCC meetings.

Meetings for 2011 have been set at the same time and place on the following Thursdays: 17 March, 16 June, 8 September and 8 December.