Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Port Phillip Bay

Melbourne is situated within a bay Called Port Phillip Bay . It has become a place where Melbournians swim, fish and play water sports. The Yarra river runs into the bay and when Melbourne was being established in the latter part of the 19th century a port was established on the river and fed by ships coming through Port Phillip bay. It has been described as a 19th or twentieth century port, but not suitable for the 21st century and beyond.

There are alternative places that could serve Melbourne and Victoria as a deep-water port. One being Western Port bay which is a deep water bay. Which is literally just around the corner. [See Port Phillip Bay link above] It has towns along the foreshore that could be developed into port cities. In fact a proposal to make Hastings a port was floated back in the 1960s.

As it is, we are just about to embark on a billion dollar dredging exercise, to create a deep water shipping channel for the new generation container ships. Even with a number of environmental impact studies and Federal Government approval, there is a ground swell of opposition.

The Premier [Mr Brumby] supports the recommendations, but I think he is missing the point. That being, that Port Phillip bay is used in a very different way to a century ago. The people of Melbourne don't want their bay side polluted by dredging up a 100 years of toxic waste and sludge. Even the main users of the Port of Melbourne [shipping companies] are not unanimous in their support for the billion dollar dredging.

I think, yet again, it is a case of the experts told them so, so therefore we will do as they say.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and putting a deep water port in a deep water bay may be the best way to go. As long as we insist on using heavy rail to cart the containers to distribution points around Victoria it should work well.

So honk your ships horn if you think we should send a message to Mr Brumby.

Oh and by the way, I have read that our former Federal treasurer Peter Costello, who jumped after the last general election. Has been offered an eight figure annual income to work for the Macquarie bank. I wonder, if his often kind support for their take over plans has anything to do with that. A bit like the former Premier of NSW Bob Carr getting a decent wedge from Mac Bank when he retired from politics.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back on your Bike

A new year and at last I'm climbing out of my holiday/xmas/hot summer hibernation.

Over the xmas hols the state government here in Victoria decided to ban Bicycles on trains during the morning rush hour period. This is despite the relevant transport minister being supposedly in favour of bikes as a means of transport.
Of late the public transport system is being used more, due in part to a hike in petrol costs and also the greater awareness of Global warming. This has meant that the railway carriages have been full in the mornings as commuters get to work. Some travellers want to use public transport in conjunction with their bikes. So here is the rub, busy train, person gets on with bike, potential for conflict.
The transport minister had a couple of options, one was to restrict the carrying of bikes on trains. The other was to make arrangements for an extra carriage during the morning rush hour to accommodate the extra patronage, including people with bikes.
He chose the first, I don't know why, perhaps cause the government no longer run the railways and their contracts with the private operator is locked into so many carriages. Who knows? All I can say is there will be many more commuters with their varying needs in the not so distant future. The government should look forward with enlightenment not put their collective head in the sand and behave like they have.