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C4MP support for Marine Precinct Report & broader technology and industrial park.

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s consultation on The Draft Marine Industry Precinct Economic Analysis Report.

The Shire-commissioned report, envisages a very exciting and much needed pathway to sustainable jobs growth and economic opportunity that can be pursued in an environmentally-conscious way, utilizing current industrially-zoned land repurposed to support a sector where our region has considerable comparative advantage.

The Report, the detailed analysis it incorporates and its recommendations are strongly supported by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula.  The C4MP commends the Council for its longstanding engagement on this important measure to support the diversification of the region’s industry base, sustainable economic development and much needed jobs growth.

It draws upon and is the logical progression of numerous other studies and reports relevant to the vision for a dedicated marine industry precinct, including:

* Mornington Peninsula and Frankston Marine Sector Feasibility Study, 2012
* Mornington Peninsula Marine Precincts Strategy, 2015
* Mornington Peninsula Industrial Areas Strategy, 2018
* Port of Hastings Development Authority - 2018 Port Development Strategy

The recently released Port of Hastings Development Strategy identified about 400 hectares of the 3,500 hectares of currently zoned industrial land that has been set aside for Port-dependent uses are excess to any conceivable Port requirement. 

The preferred site is contained within this ‘surplus to Port needs’ area currently zoned for Port-related industrial uses.  The recommended site for the Marine Industry Precinct therefore does not infringe on ‘Green Wedge’ planning objectives, which are shared by the C4MP, and represents a sensible re-purposing of currently zoned industrial land. 

C4MP would like to encourage council to consider broader industrial uses of this site and the surrounding ‘surplus to Port needs’ area to host expanding local businesses, suppliers and value-adding activity that supports our economy, including but not limited to marine technology, systems and manufacturing; food processing & paddock-to-plate supply; engineering design & fabrication; and education and training facilities, particularly for supporting local hospitality and tourism businesses. It is uncontested that there is a scarcity of developable industrial land on the Mornington Peninsula and that this is impeded investment, economic and employment opportunities.

The recommended site at the Bungower Road (West) is supported by C4MP.  As the Report concludes, the Bungower Road (West) site option has “sufficient land area, high quality arterial road access, access to existing service infrastructure and an appropriate planning context”.

Convenient access to servicing and utilities is available for the recommended site, with scope to extend and/or connect to broadband, water, sewerage and gas infrastructure and services with no adverse impact or obligation on other nearby land owners and users.  

As the Report highlights, sensible buffer requirements on the west of the site can protect the legitimate amenity expectations of the adjacent low-density rural residential properties.

The proximity of the recommended site to the Somerville township also lends itself to an extension of bike/pedestrian trails along Bungower Road to support non-motorised transport options for the numerous current and potentially growing number of local residents involved in careers and employment.   

Bungower Road is a designated arterial road and provides ready access to the Western Port Highway, Frankston-Flinders Road and Peninsula Link (and any future freight rail infrastructure) to support the precinct’s freight and workforce transport needs.  This overcomes the current challenges faced by a number of general industrial and marine industry enterprises where traffic contends with minor road infrastructure and access routes that also support significant residential and other commercial vehicle and pedestrian movements.

C4MP is very supportive of steps to create the Marine Industry precinct as the cornerstone of a new industrial and technology park on the recommended site.  This will assist in addressing the lack of developable industrial land by expanding the range of uses permissible on this currently zoned industrial land that has been identified as not needed for the future of the Port.

Alongside fast-tracking the recalibration of the current industrial zoning to facilitates the early establishment of the Marine Industry Precinct as the cornerstone of a new industrial and technology park on the recommended site, the Committee urges the Council to establish an investment attraction and facilitation program to guide and secure the investment in the kind of high-quality, job-yielding Precinct envisaged by the commentary in the Report. 

This ‘Jayco Business Park’-style outcome supported by planning overlays (section 6.3 refers) can provide the clear guidance will ensure investors can be ‘sure-footed’ in terms of Council’s requirements and aligned with delivering high quality amenity outcomes.

In seeking to expedite the establishment of the Marine Industry Precinct as recommended as a cornerstone of a new industrial and technology park on the recommended site, the scarcity of developable industrial land generally in the municipality, the significance of this initiative to our region and to avoid the risk of investment displacement as a result of avoidable delays, the C4MP suggests that the Council seek the State Government’s direct assistance in securing an early change to the current industrial zoning.

In relation to the specific Marine Industry Precinct considerations addressed by the Report, C4MP agrees that: The marine industry sector is an economic asset that is growing. However, due to limited land availability and the scattered nature of the existing businesses on the Mornington Peninsula, there is limited scope to capture growth in the sector”.

It is equally clear that credible investment and job-producing growth plans for existing and established marine industry and other industrial enterprises can be activated through the availability of suitable development sites in our region.

The Bungower Road (West) location presents an opportunity to relieve traffic congestion at the Somerville ‘Grants Road’ roundabout that is the subject of considerable local community angst and concern.

C4MP is ready to collaborate with the Council on advocating targeted transport network upgrades to the designated arterial road function of Bungower Road in support of establishment of the Marine Industry Precinct as recommended as a cornerstone of a new industrial and technology park on the recommended site

Mindful that the Report is an Marine Industry Precinct economic analysis and not an examination of the best land-use planning controls and overlays to support the establishment of such a precinct as a cornerstone of a new industrial and technology park on the recommended site, C4MP feels it is premature to nominate favour any specific Industrial Zone at this time.  The Committee would be guided by expert planning advice about the control needed to achieve a ’Jayco Business Park’-style outcome.  A planning objective should be not unnecessarily constraining investment by prescriptive definitions that could impede the advantages and synergies offered by co-location of supply-chain participants, technology development and transfer, enterprise collaboration and complementary market opportunities.

C4MP would welcome the opportunity to provide commercial insights and investor perspectives to future consultations about the  best planning controls to achieve a ’Jayco Business Park’-style outcome on the recommended site.

The C4MP welcomes and supports the comments of the Mayor Cr David Gill, that this is “unprecedented opportunity for the Shire to seek rezoning of a portion of that land to create a dedicated world class Marine Industry Precinct that will enhance innovation for our community.    We share Cr Gill’s view: “This will create jobs and increase economic output on the Peninsula”. He added: “The biggest demand is for marine related light industries which would be terrific for the Peninsula because of lower environmental impact and a high ratio of jobs”.

The Committee is encouraged by the comments of local Watson Ward Cr Julie Morris when welcoming Report’s release, that “creating local jobs with meaningful career opportunities will ensure our community stays prosperous and healthy. The future jobs lie within our own local businesses, let’s support them so they can grow”.