1st Kennett Ministry


From the Office of the Minister for Industry Services
Wednesday April 20, 1994


The Minister for Industry Services, Roger Pescott, today welcomed the Federal Government's decision to relocate the East Coast Armaments Complex (ECAC) to West Point Wilson near Geelong.  

It was an excellent result for Victoria, the Minister said. 

At the same time, Mr Pescott said Point Lillias had replaced West Point Wilson as the preferred choice for the new port and bulk liquid chemical storage facility. The Minister said Point Lillias had many natural advantages.

"The move to Point Lilllias will give greater long-term security to the chemical industry, which fully supports the move from Coode Island. This industry directly contributes around $1.6 billion every year and seven thousand jobs to the Victorian economy," Mr Pescott said.

"Geelong's economy especially, will receive a dramatic boost. The developments at Point Lillias and West Point Wilson will create jobs both during and after the construction phase."  

He said the Government was committed to the relocation, evidenced by the fact, leases at Coode Island will not be renewed after the year 2000.

The State Government will also provide the necessary finances for the required port, roads and services infrastructure while the selection process for the proponent will get underway immediately.

Mr Pescott said Point Lillias as a site was superior to West Point Wilson and had more than adequate buffers in relation to residential areas.

Advantages include:

* there's no need for a long, specialised jetty (and possibly a breakwater) because a shipping channel can be economically dredged close to shore;

* the berth creates the capacity for more versatile use of the port;

* capital and operating costs will be lower;

* the site is sufficiently removed so as not to be affected by the establishment of an armaments complex at Point Wilson;
* and, unlike Point Wilson, the land is already owned by the State Government.

Mr Pescott said Point Lillias was not listed as a possible site at the time of the Coode Island Review Panel because the Port of Geelong Authority, which owns the land, had earmarked it for other purposes.

The Authority has now abandoned its original plans for the area.
The new site will be subject to the same processes and regulations that are currently in train for West Point Wilson and full public consultation with environmental and local community groups will be encouraged.

"The current Environment Effects Statement will be expanded and given new scope to take in Point Lillias. This will be a complete and thorough process," Mr Pescott said.

"The expanded EES will look at any concerns in relation to the environmental sensitivity of the area and possible conflicts with international treaty obligations in respect of migratory birds. The Government will not allow roads or any construction in the wetland areas.

"Also, the process will examine the compatibility of the proposed Point Lillias site with plans for the future development of Avalon Airport."

Mr Pescott said the Government was committed to the industrial and manufacturing sector in Victoria, and wanted to secure its long-term future.

"Victoria has been a very important industrial base for many years, and this Government wants to keep it that way - for all industries," he said.  

The Minister said talks with the Federal Government were ongoing.
"The State and the Commonwealth are cooperating on all issues to ensure that the interests of the chemical industry, the community and the environment are addressed."

Media inquiries, David Ahern, ph, 651 5799