THE Victorian Government last week announced that the $1.6 billion Port Capacity Project has been given the go-ahead, following Planning Minister Matthew Guy's decision to provide planning approval for works to commence at Melbourne's Webb Dock.
"The Port Capacity Project demonstrates the Coalition Government's commitment to ensuring the Port of Melbourne remains Australia's leading container, automotive and general cargo port," Mr Guy said.
According to the government, the planning process and amendments to the Melbourne and Port of Melbourne Planning Schemes stipulate the need for a landscaped buffer and the construction of noise walls to reduce the impacts of the operations on nearby communities.
Mr Guy said the Port of Melbourne Corporation will be required to comply with strict environmental standards to protect the Bay, waterways and the natural environment.
"During construction and eventual operation of the new port facilities new benchmarks for environmental standards and accountability will be set to provide the highest level of transparency and performance," Mr Guy said.
Other approvals have been already been received from various government departments, including the Federal Government, who approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Ports Minister Denis Napthine said the Victorian Government is committed to ensuring Victoria maintained its status at the nation's freight and logistics capital, with the project expected to provide 1,100 direct jobs and 1,900 indirect jobs.
"This decision means that the works at Webb Dock can now proceed, enabling Melbourne's third container terminal and new world-class automotive facilities to be operational in late 2016," Dr Napthine said.
The project will create a new container terminal at Webb Dock, with direct connections between the terminal and the M1 Freeway. It will also include infrastructure upgrades at Swanson Dock to increase capacity at the port's existing container terminals.
"The development of quality buffers around Webb Dock will continue to be designed and constructed and as part of the competitive bidding process, the bidders for the new terminals will address issues of noise, light spill, traffic management and the visual amenity of local communities," Dr Napthine said.