Kingston steers away from port support Neil Walker email@example.com KINGSTON councillors have changed a previous council position supporting a second major container port in Hastings. A 5-3 majority of councillors voted at August’s public council meeting to “take no position” on backing Hastings over Bay West near Geelong as the location of a second container port when the Port of Melbourne reaches capacity. Cr Rosemary West’s notice of motion urged Kingston Council to effectively drop support for a major port at Hastings and comes in the wake
of neighbouring Frankston Council’s decision in May to end its support for Hastings over Bay West. Infrastructure Victoria, an independent body established by the state government, has flagged Bay West as the preferred second container port location when needed, possibly as early as 2035. “I don’t think we need to expand our trade to the point we don’t manufacture anything,” Cr West said at the meeting. “I certainly don’t think we would be wanting to destroy the environment of western port by supporting the Port of Hastings as I’m afraid the last council did.” Cr Geoff Gledhill, the Liberal
Party’s candidate for the seat of Mordialloc at next year’s state election, noted “63 per cent” of goods imported into Melbourne are transported south east of Melbourne. “We do have to be involved in this discussion because we’ve got one of the largest light manufacturing areas in Australia through the south east that starts in Braeside and Mordialloc and heads all the way out to Dandenong,” Cr Gledhill said. “Food processing is seen as a particular growth industry in this area. We’ve got businesses that supported the motor industry disappearing … we need to replace that industry because that’s where the jobs are.” Cr Gledhill noted Hastings “is a
deep water port”. He acknowledged Infrastructure Victoria is leaning towards Bay West as the site for a second major port but said there are concerns about how to deepen heads at Bay West for larger container ships. Cr West said that the state government, in her view, should build a freight rail link from the Port of Melbourne to the south east to transport goods. She noted any port expansion at Hastings would likely put either 1.5 million B-Double trucks or 50,000 freight trains on railways across Melbourne, according to a Victoria University report. Crs Tamara Barth, Ron Brownless, Georgina Oxley, Steve Staikos and
West voted for council to take no position on a major port at Hastings. Crs Tamsin Bearsley, Gledhill and George Hua voted against Cr West’s notice of motion. The mayor Cr David Eden did not raise his hand to indicate his vote. No formal division was called to officially record councillors’ votes on the matter. Mornington Peninsula Shire council supported a major port at Hastings alongside Frankston and Kingston councils in a joint submission to the state government from the South East Melbourne (SEMS) group of councils in late 2015.
Councillor wants strength in numbers A FRANKSTON councillor is pushing for council employees throughout Victoria to be subject to a single enterprise bargaining agreement. Cr Colin Hampton, who described himself as a former EBA negotiator “in the newspapers business” at this month’s public council meeting, claimed staff at councils are paid more than employees in other sectors. “Local government is between 15 and 17 per cent above the national wage in this country because the unions have got such an open hand in negotiating,” Cr Hampton said at the council meeting. The councillor, a longtime Labor Party member, said unions had
the upper hand in negotiations with council management over pay and conditions for workers. “If I had the ability that the union has here to negotiate individually around the state I’d be rubbing my hands.” Cr Quinn McCormack was the only one of nine councillors at the meeting to vote against Cr Hampton’s proposal to have a statewide collective bargaining agreement discussed at the Municipal Association of Victoria’s annual conference in May next year. The proposal calls on the Fair Work Commission to negotiate a statewide EBA for all 79 of Victoria’s councils. There would be three separate pay
bands within any single state EBA — inner metropolitan, outer metropolitan including Frankston and country Victoria. Cr Hampton’s attempt to push for solidarity between councils negotiating with unions comes as Frankston Council management and the Australian Services Union remain deadlocked over a pay rise offer to staff. A 386-274 majority of Frankston Council staff rejected a 1.4 per cent pay rise for the second time last month. The union says the 1.4 per cent offer is effectively a pay cut since it is less than the annual rate of inflation. A near 10 per cent pay rise in 2015
for council CEO Dennis Hovenden — taking his remuneration to $325,000 — has been highlighted by the ASU in its campaign to persuade council workers to “vote no” against the 1.4 per cent pay rise offer. Council chief executive officer pay is not subject to an enterprise bargaining agreement and any change to CEO pay and conditions during the term of a contract is decided by councillors during annual performance reviews discussed behind closed doors. Neil Walker Striking a bargain: Cr Colin Hampton wants councils across Victoria to band together to collectively negotiate pay and conditions with staff.
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11 September 2017