Hastings knock back put Barry Beach back in frame

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has called on the State Labor Government to back Gippsland jobs and reconsider Barry Beach in South Gippsland as a construction port for the proposed offshore wind industry.

Mr O’Brien’s comments came after the Commonwealth Government refused environmental approval for development of the Port of Hastings as the Victorian Government’s “renewable energy port”, throwing offshore wind plans into chaos.

“The Federal Government’s decision to veto the Port of Hastings as the offshore wind farm construction port puts Barry Beach in South Gippsland squarely back in the picture,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Barry Beach should never have been dismissed by the Labor Government so easily in the first place.

“While it would also require some dredging, there are few alternative port options for this industry. The Commonwealth’s decision confirms what I’ve always said: Hastings was never as simple a proposition as State Labor made out.

“The next closest option in terms of steaming time is Bell Bay in Tasmania and that would be a disaster for Victoria’s interests.

“If Gippsland is going to see the full benefits of these projects, then Barry Beach must be considered for both construction and operations and maintenance.

“If this industry is to go ahead off our coast and with transmission lines through our landscape, Gippsland must get the maximum benefit from jobs and economic activity.

“The State Labor Government needs to go back to the drawing board and give serious consideration to further development at Barry Beach.”


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