Members Statement: Port Management

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it—that’s the message from two of my local governments to the Andrews Labor government’s discussion paper into the management of Victoria’s ports.

This document, which was dumped on the industry while it’s trying to deal with the challenges a global pandemic has presented, is clearly showing the way the government wants to go—take control for the sake of it.

While it’s only a discussion paper, the language used leaves no question as to which way the recommendations that are formed from the review will go.

Management of local ports along the western coast are proposed to be centralised into one new bureaucracy—taking decision-making power away from locals. The Glenelg shire is miffed. They do an incredible job running the local Port of Portland Bay and were recently given a huge amount of funding to further improve the facilities.

The Moyne shire was in the middle of a strategic plan for the Port of Port Fairy to secure its long-term future and ensure it remains successful under their leadership.

The Port of Portland, a private business, is looking at the prospect of losing control of the ability to appoint one of its most senior staff members, the harbour master, with the government looking to take control of that too. This should ring warning bells with every single private enterprise in the state.

There is no rhyme or reason for these changes. The only reasoning I can find is that a review hasn’t been done for 20 years. If it’s not fundamentally broken, don’t try and fix it.