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Port of Melbourne $400m expansion to create 420 jobs
19/06/2012 - A $400 million expansion of Victoria's car shipment hub at the Port of Melbourne will create 420 new jobs, the state government says.
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The coalition was considering moving the car trade to the state's second-largest port at Geelong but decided to expand operations at Webb Dock West instead after opposition from the industry.
Port of Melbourne Corporation chief executive Stephen Bradford said tendering for the construction of a 900-metre berth would start within months, then building work could begin.
The final berth at Webb Dock West would be completed in the first half of 2017, he said.
Victorian Ports Minister Denis Napthine said the development would significantly boost the local economy.
"This will be a hive of activity and a hive of jobs over the next few years," he told reporters on Monday.
An additional 420 jobs would be created during the construction phase.
Dr Napthine said a sale of the port was not on the government's agenda.
The expansion would boost the Port of Melbourne's capacity to handle vehicles to 600,000 each year, compared with about 380,000 currently.
Most pre-delivery inspections of cars arriving from overseas would take place at a 12-hectare site at Webb Dock, rather than in Altona or Laverton.
Dr Napthine said completing most of the pre-delivery inspections on site would reduce traffic congestion on the West Gate Bridge.
"Under the current situation, vehicles coming into Australia go over the West Gate Bridge to be prepared for sale, and they come back over the West Gate Bridge to the dealers in the eastern suburbs," he said.
"We can do that pre-delivery inspection on site here, which is what we'll do, that means those vehicles will go straight from here ... to the showroom."
The $400 million investment follows an earlier announcement of a $1.2 billion upgrade to establish a new container port at Webb Dock East.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the government's $1.6 billion investment in the Port of Melbourne ensured the state would retain its competitive advantage.
"These announcements ... go a long way to supporting Victoria's place in the national and indeed international economy and will reinforce the Port of Melbourne's place as the biggest and most important port in Australia," he said.
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