Saturday August 28, 2004
By IAN KIRKWOOD
SYDNEY Ports is determined to expand the Port Botany wharves, despite residents, business groups and politicians pushing for a new terminal in Newcastle or Port Kembla.
It has released a consultants’ report supporting its plans as originally announced, despite Planning Minister Craig Knowles ordering it to consider alternatives within Botany Bay, and an upper house committee urging the Government to look at Newcastle and Wollongong.
Mr Knowles intervened in June after P&O complained that Sydney Ports was favouring its stevedoring rival Patrick Corporation.
Sydney Ports wants nearly 60 hectares reclaimed from the bay opposite the third Mascot runway, and the new report by GHD and PricewaterhouseCoopers backs it over eight alternatives.
Botany Mayor Ron Hoenig and Greens MLC Ian Cohen both said the report did nothing to alter their calls for a “whole of state” ports strategy.
Labor’s Kingsford Smith candidate Peter Garrett who reportedly opposed the plan at his preselection declined to comment.
A spokesman for the Newcastle Port Corporation said yesterday that the organisation would not comment on the Botany plans.
The Newcastle Ports spokesman said the multi-purpose terminal (MPT) it was promoting for a waterfront strip of the former BHP steelworks site was progressing independently of Botany.
He pointed to a recent announcement by Minister for the Hunter Michael Costa, who said four expressions of interest were being examined by the corporation for a shortlist later this year.
Newcastle and Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Glenn Thornton said the business community supported the MPT.
He said the MPT was always going to need private sector commitment, and although the Government was not putting money into the project, making the site available was “a huge benefit”.
Residents’ group Save Botany Beach Inc. said the Sydney Ports development would have devastating and irreversible effects on the bay.
It said the Government should switch the Botany expansion to Newcastle