Victoria Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett
Melbourne Market Relocation – The Facts
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett has clarified the facts relating to the Melbourne Markets project, following an article in The Weekly Times today which contained a number of factual inaccuracies.
Mr. Hodgett said it was disappointing that there was so much misinformation about the Melbourne Market relocation being spread for political or commercial gain.
“The fact is that the former Labor Government initiated this project and when we came to Government, construction was well underway.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“Through Labor’s poor planning there were a number of design flaws, including a smaller floor space for standholders than what is available at the current Footscray Road site.”
The design by Labor of the new market at Epping has a trading floor area of 7,456 sqm, compared to the 13,994 sqm at the existing site.
“Thanks to the poor design by Labor, it is inevitable that the current number of stands and their current size will simply not fit at Epping.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“We are working closely with the standholders to address all issues relating to the move. Since February 2012 we have put out 53 discussion papers and Ministerial statements concerning the relocation to Epping (all of which are available at www.melbournemarkets.com.au).”
“We have maintained constant dialogue with these stakeholders as we work to ensure the best possible result.”
“Every time we have sought expressions of interest or held ballots for warehousing, stores and stands, we have been overwhelmed with interest and participation. If the standholders thought the market was such a bad proposition, they wouldn’t all be clambering to be involved and the number of stands and their size wouldn’t be an issue.”
“The article that appeared in the Weekly Times contained much misinformation. At this stage, no decisions have been made on individual stand sizes, or who will get the stands. This is because we are continuing to work with the standholders to assess their needs, as well as deal with issues.”
“The Weekly Times also pointed out that Labor’s designed floor space is too narrow to turn a forklift. We have engaged an independent traffic management reviewer to address this issue and ensure that the proposed layout provides for safe and efficient operation and considers both forklifts and pedestrians. The information gathered will be factored into the final layout and considered before the stand ballot process.” Mr. Hodgett said.
Mr. Hodgett also explained that reports that 100,000 sqm of warehousing space was struggling to be filled was simply wrong.
“Warehouse spacing hasn’t even been allocated yet, as we are still in the process of assessing how much will be required.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“The amount of warehousing constructed will be determined by the needs of the businesses going into the market.”
“The Melbourne Markets is a project that presents a range of challenges, and we are working closely with the users of the current Footscray Road site to deal with these challenges.”
“Once it is open, the Melbourne Market site at Epping will be a fantastic, state of the art market, which will provide a huge range of benefits to both businesses and market goers.” Mr. Hodgett said.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to meet with the Melbourne Markets Relocation Team which is on site to work with the standholders on the transition.