INDUSTRIAL GROWTH DEPENDS ON MONEY TO LAY RAIL SPUR
By PETER STRACHAN
MELBOURNE’S southeast is poised to become the heart of Australian manufacturing. But it must convince the state and federal governments of its capacity to deliver and get their support for essential infrastructure.
Committee for Dandenong chairman Gary Castricum said the region was already home to more than one million people, had 5000 enterprises and produced 90,000 jobs and excellent growth prospects. “But it can achieve so much more with faster development of the Dandenong South inland port, a major airport in Casey-Cardinia and a wider upgrade of the region’s major connector road system,” Mr Castricum said. “All that is required to give the inland port a major boost is a short spur from the Cranbourne rail line. The rest of the line back to the Port of Melbourne already has the capacity to carry all of the containers now clogging the Monash Freeway.”
He said industry had already shown confidence in the 130ha intermodal port at Saltia’s industrial estate. “Bunnings has developed a 45,000sq m warehouse there. That’s a building four times the size of the MCG. Imagine what would follow and the savings there would be for all manufacturers and distributors across the southeast if they could rail all of their container freight through this port.”
Mr Castricum said he believed governments historically had grossly underestimated the southeast’s capacity to produce more and better. On roads, he said government money spent on projects like upgrading Thompsons Rd would be repaid many times over in earnings. Mr Castricum added the southeast had to continue its fight for development of the Port of Hastings and establishment of its own airport.
SEMMA executive officer Adrian Boden said he fully supported the committee’s initiative. “We are partners and supporters of its strategic agenda and are proud to be involved in something that will further the growth and prosperity of the Dandenong and southeast Melbourne manufacturing zone,” Mr Boden said.
Greater Dandenong Council business general manager Paul Kearsley said the city was an active partner and supporter of what the committee was trying to do.
Industry will reveal its ambitions for the region at a Smart Manufacturing show in Lonsdale St, Dandenong on May 17.
Article re-posted from the Greater Dandenong Leader