Brereton’s Railing Port Botany’s Containers Report was released the same day. The target for rail share expressed in that report was 40% by 2011. In 2011 Port Botany was achieving less than 10% by rail.
The Ports Growth Plan released 5th October 2003 had outlined a plan for sharing the load between Port Kembla and Newcastle with Newcastle taking over as the next container port when Port Botany reached capacity, notionally 3.2million TEU. In 2013 Port Kembla was packaged into a 99 lease taken on by NSW Ports and Newcastle container trade was capped as a condition of the lease. In the past 10 years 2 additional coal loaders have been approved for Newcastle.
In the Port Botany Expansion Environmental Impact Statement claims were made regarding jobs, conservation, and local amenities. The image for Foreshore Beach (left) did not include warning signs about water quality. There was no mention of Foreshore becoming the worst beach in the Sydney Basin, as reported by Beachwatch.
When community members told the Commission of Inquiry that Foreshore would become an eroded gross pollutant trap the ‘experts’ hired by Sydney Ports disagreed. Now the Port Authority of NSW has to spend $millions on groynes to stem the erosion and signs advise that swimming should be avoided.
And what about all the jobs that would be created – 57 workers were recently sacked by the operator of the 3rd terminal, Hutchison. But it isn’t here that jobs are needed. In the Botany municipality the ratio of jobs per resident is almost 3:1. Port Kembla and the Hunter are where the jobs are needed but when Botany was approved investment in the Hunter Economic Zone, created to support an expanded container port, subsequently dried up.
At the Commission of Inquiry the Sydney Ports environmental consultant said that Penrhyn Estuary would decline if the expansion did not go ahead. The main purpose of Penrhyn was to protect shorebirds including target migratory species. At a Port Botany Community Consultative Committee meeting in August 2015 the Port Authority reported:
Of the six target species, targets for five of the six have not been met.
The bar-tailed godwit had the lowest count for the species but there has
been a general decline for the whole of Botany Bay. The red knot is
absent from Penhryn Estuary. The Pacific golden plover has exceeded
targets for the fifth consecutive season. There was one sandpiper last
year but there has been a general decline in South Eastern Australia.
The red necked stint has had the lowest count since construction phase
and consultants are unsure why. The double banded plover has had the
largest high tide count since 2011 and while the target is still not met the
trend is positive.