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Hastings port plans more community consultation

<p>The Port of Hastings Corporation is to host four further information sessions for the community to have input into the plans for a sustainable port in Hastings.</p> <p>Chief executive Ralph Kenyon said he would encourage community members to attend the public information displays being facilitated by the City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire during February.</p> <p>The draft strategy recommends Long Island, to the north east of Hastings, as the preferred precinct for port development.</p> <p>There would be a staged implementation of new berthing infrastructure commencing after 2010, as well as upgrades to the Western Port Highway as the major road transport link to Melbourne.</p> <p>The Stony Point and Frankston railway would be used in the short term for freight traffic, with a new rail link connecting Hastings with Dandenong via Clyde and Gippsland via Pakenham ultimately on the cards.</p> <p>Additionally, the corporation envisages a clearly defined planning process to comply with requirements for an Environment Effects Statement.</p> <p>Mr Kenyon said it was long standing State Government policy that the Port of Hastings would slowly expand over the next 25 years as the Port of Melbourne reached its capacity.</p> <p>&#8220As part of this growth, improved and expanded transport links to the port of Hastings will also be needed. The <em> Land Use and Transport Strategy</em> <em>Consultation Draft</em> was developed to help identify all of the issues that we will need to address in planning for this growth, including road and rail upgrades.&#8221</p> <p>While the strategy outlined a preferred set of rail and road upgrades, these options were not in any way final, Mr Kenyon said.</p> <p>The corporation is keen to receive feedback from the community on the pros and cons of each transport option.</p> <p>&#8220This will help us to understand the impacts of each option on the community and to incorporate this into our assessment,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220Once this consultation period is finished, all of the feedback will be assessed and a recommended strategy will be prepared for consideration by government. However, no final decision on rail and road alignments is expected to be made at that point.&#8221 </p> <p>Mr Kenyon said that any recommended transport option would need to be the subject of further technical &#38 environmental investigations and a full planning and EES process.</p> <p>The community sessions will be held this month in Cranbourne, Doveton, Pakenham and Cardinia and members of the public can submit their comments until March 14.</p> <p>For further details, telephone 03 5979 5500 or check the port’s website:</p> <br />