Containerising Port of Portland will bring flow on benefits to the south west

Funding for roads, rail and communications infrastructure would naturally flow across the south west if the Port of Portland was containerised, benefiting residents across the region according to South West Coast candidate James Purcell.

Containerising the Port of Portland will be top of Mr Purcell's agenda if he is re-elected to state government this weekend.

"The benefits this would bring to the south-west would be enormous and it would be a game changer for Portland, the broader region and supporting industries and businesses,” Mr Purcell said.

"I think building confidence and industry in Portland is vital to the future of jobs and infrastructure in our region. A containerised port in the south-west would add power to our calls for improved freight and passenger rail to Warrnambool and Portland and make fixing our roads a top priority."

As a Western District representative in the legislative council for the past four years Mr Purcell has campaigned to retain and expand industry and infrastructure in Portland, working to save Alcoa in 2016, support Keppel Prince in job retention and securing $500,000 in funding to explore community energy options for the town.

"When Alcoa's pot-line froze in 2016 I pushed the state and federal governments to intervene and make sure the company got back to full production. 

"That incident highlighted to me the great potential for Portland and the important part it plays in the future of our region, the confidence of business and industry and the potential it holds for building jobs and infrastructure in the south-west."

Initiatives like adding a local content requirement to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target legislation have provided stability for businesses in the area, such as Keppel Prince, which has since expanded its operation and become a competitive player in wind and solar developments in the region.

"There is also a large power line running across our region to power Alcoa, which offers huge opportunities for us to build a strong renewable energy industry and support base load initiatives in the region," he said.

Last month Mr Purcell opened a permanent office in Portland to give the local community and businesses better access to government and this office will remain if he is elected to the South West Coast seat next weekend.