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By LACHLAN MOORHEAD

A CASEY councillor has called on all Labor MPs in the municipality to abandon their party’s Bay West plan and support the State Government’s proposed development of the Port of Hastings.
In a media release sent last Friday, the City of Casey, acting on behalf of the South East Metro Councils body, reaffirmed its backing of the Victorian Government’s Port of Hastings proposal, with councillor Sam Aziz slamming the Opposition’s rival policy.
Cr Aziz, outlined in the release as the City of Casey’s advocacy spokesperson, called on all of the current Labor MPs representing parts of Casey to ditch their party’s Bay West policy, listing Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan, Narre Warren South MP Judith Graley, Cranbourne MP Jude Perera and Dandenong MP John Pandazopoulous.
“The recent study by the Department of Transport has clearly revealed the shortcomings of the Bay West proposal,” Cr Aziz said.
“The sheer cost and the environmental impact of the further dredging required in Port Phillip makes it a folly.
“Council asks the Opposition to throw its support behind the development of the Port of Hastings and to support the economic development and the thousands of jobs that it would bring to south-east Melbourne.
“These MPs should be publicly declaring their support for this critical project, instead of limply following a party position which significantly and detrimentally affects their own constituents.”
As outlined in the 2012/13 State Budget, the government will spend $110 million on studies investigating the potential to develop the Port of Hastings.
Mr Donnellan said Labor’s position was clear and that a “comprehensive and transparent cost benefit analysis” would be completed to “test how Bay West stands up against other possible sites, including Hastings.”
“Hastings requires around $10 billion in road and rail funding to get goods in and out, and without that additional investment, the Nepean Highway, Monash Freeway and Dandenong Rail corridor will be flooded with trucks and trains 24 hours a day,” he said.
“The Liberal party has had the Port of Hastings in the pipeline since the 1960s, but we haven’t seen any real action, with no details, no deadlines, and no funding commitments.”
Ms Graley also hit back at the criticism directed at her party from the City of Casey.
“Clearly the Liberal party members of council have no idea about appropriate decision making involved in projects worth billions of dollars,” she said.

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