Servicing Flinders Island, Cape Barren and the Furneaux Group of Islands

Lady Barron Freight Depot

Furneaux Freight recently applied to the Flinders Island Council to construct a freight depot in Lady Barron as the Lady Barron Port in an unsafe and impractical workplace in which to stevedore freight. This was REFUSED by the Flinders Island Council in the April Council meeting.

The application to build the depot comes some ten years after Matthew and Colleen Bayles had the same 2 blocks re-zoned commercial and where REFUSED by the Flinders Council to construct a transport depot which resulted in Southern Shipping being sold to Geoff Gabriel.

The representations received by the Flinders Council in relation to the proposed transit depot are mainly concerned with the storage of dangerous goods and light and sounds impact despite the close proximity to the operating Port area which is operational 24/7.

It should be noted, that the current bulk fuel storage facility on Flinders Island is located on the boundary of the foreshore, in the town centre, adjacent to both residential and commercial hospitability premises which has heavy vehicles movement conducted 24 hours a day 7 days a week by the same trucks which would have transited the proposed depot of Furneaux Freight. It should be also noted that the same amount of traffic will continue to transit the Main Road of Lady Barron to access the Port Area for livestock, general freight, and fuel deliveries as would have done if the proposed transit depot was constructed.

Furneaux Freight’s main aim in proposing a transit depot was to enhance the service delivered to Flinders Island and allow freight stevedoring to be conducted in a safe and secure environment. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing restrictions on port operations imposed by Tasports and Qube at the Lady Barron Port, Furneaux Freight believe it will continue to result in increasing handling costs as hours are reduced and local transport operators are hindered. With the already reduced hours of operations at the Lady Barron Port and limited available level hardstand areas, the Port can not handle the volume of freight that is transiting it.

It is interesting to note that no objections where received by Council from any of the main port users, as they are fully aware of the unsafe operating conditions of the Lady Barron Port and experience first hand the dysfunctional operations of the Lady Barron Port.

This has been a disappointing result to Furneaux Freight, as all Island residents experience the benefits provided by Furneuax Freight through lower fuel prices, increased investment in transportation assets for efficient delivery of containerised and refrigerated freight but can not obtain support to continue a commercial operation at Lady Barron where no more commercial land is available. Once again, it is a decision made by the minority not the majority which has a negative impact for the Island community as a whole.

Please find below information relating to the proposed Transport Depot at Lady Barron.

  1. Planning Report on Transport Depot prepared for the Flinders Island Council.

Planning Report – Furneaux Freight Transport Depot – March 2016 V3

A draft report to the same effect was given to Council at an onsite meeting in March, which was then made publically available by a Councillor after specific request the document was to be kept confidential until formally released.

2. Representation Received by the Flinders Island Council

Annex 5. A1. Representations

3. Letter received from Tasports in March

Furneaux Freight Correspondence – 24 March 2016

4. Independent Report conducted on the Lady Barron Port

HSE Qualitative Risk Analysis Report LBP-FF – birdEdit V1

5. Letter in response to public letter in “Island News”

To address the letter of Chris Murphy and Meg Gledden

  1. “The essence of the proposal from Furneaux Freight is to establish a Transport Depot for the storage and distribution of goods, delivered to our Island, in Main Street rather then at the Tasports facility at the Lady Barron Wharf”. This part of your letter addressing your concerns is accurate, the remainder however is personal opinion at best.In 2011 Tasports was granted a state government funding to upgrade the facilities of the Lady Barron Port. This funding was blatantly abused during the port upgrade process and has resulted in minimal upgrade to the port operating space and inadequate flat safe working area in which Furneaux Freight can conduct it’s freight operations. Furneaux Freight have continually bought the ongoing issues to the attention of Tasports, Flinders Council and Work Place Standards with no attempt for improvements being made. Furneaux Freight refuse to continue to have their employees operate in unsafe working conditions in which their personal safety is put in jeopardy as well as the safety and quality of freight handling that can be conducted within the Port area.The Lady Barron port remains the only port option in which Furneaux Freight can unload and load their vessels but the port area as a distribution centre remains unsafe and ineffective. Several issues exist within the port area which cannot be rectified, especially now that Port redevelopment has been completed and funding fully expensed. There is no shed in the Port area in which containers can be decanted and freight sorted ready for despatch. Furneaux Freight are forced to work in all weather elements with stock loading facilities adjacent to areas in which foodstuffs are handled. Machinery such as Prime Movers and forklift are forced to operate on inclines which cause unsafe working conditions. There is not Dangerous Goods strage area or wash down bay. The most recent display of the ineffective work area that is the lady Barron port has been demonstrated by Tasports once again causing havoc to Furneaux Freights operations by claiming Furneaux freight were ‘squatting’ in the transit shed at Lady Barron, immediately dismissing one of  Furneaux Freight employees for claimed misconduct and restricting port hours from 8 till 4 with significant call out fees for anytime after this.It is Furneaux Freights last resort to invest over a million dollars in developing its own transit centre but due to the unsafe port area provided by Tasports and constant aggravation of employees and work environment we are left with no alternative. 

    The impact that this development will have on the ‘lifestyles, livability, property values, and general appearance of Lady Barron’ can only be measured in positive outcomes. The land purchased by Furneaux Freight has been done so as it is in a commercial area. This area was rezoned by Matthew and Colleen Bayles when they has Southern Shipping Pty Ltd, after which this development was refused by Council and Southern Shipping was consequently sold to Geoffery Gabriel. The development of a commercial enterprise within this area meets all areas of the planning scheme. The land currently is overgrown with scrub and dangerous pine trees which is unsightly to say the least. The proposal by Furneaux Freight is to fence the entirety of the title and then screen with local natives. The distribution centre has been positioned on the block in the most unobtrusive location possible so that the effect on neighboring properties is near to none. 

    Night time transfers of freight will only be conducted when necessary, with tidal conditions being the deciding factor. Night time activities will be limited too dropping either a trailer or container, which will only be out of daylight hours every second to third week. 

    Your concerns regarding the heavy vehicle traffic on Main Street and the ability for vehicles to enter and exit the site without impacting local traffic are completely unfounded. Without this development proceeding, the same amount of traffic will continue to transit Main Street as it always has done to be able to access the Port Area. Livestock trucks will continue to transit Main Street, along with fuel deliveries which transit residential streets to the bulk storage fuel station with no complaint for the last ten years. The development of a transit centre will create a safer flow of traffic, as all freight revival and delivery can be handled away from public roads in a safe and secure facility.  The Port Area of Lady Barron is completely inadequate for the safe distribution of safe and can not accommodate the freight that is now transiting the Port area. 

    Furneaux Freight appreciate the Flinders Island is a unique and enterprising Island which requires individualised freight requirements to enable efficient and cost effective shipment of freight to and from the Island. Furneaux Freight continue to demonstrate it’s commitment to Flinders Island by improving freight services and associated infrastructure to allow continual development of freight services to Flinders Island residents. The most recent example seeing the significant investment into fuel distribution assets to enable competition on Flinders Island in respect to the price of fuel which has resulted in a decrease of fuel prices on Flinders Island on average buy $0.20 per litre.

    The proposed development application by Furneaux Freight at 12 to 14 Main Street lady Barron will enable Furneaux freight to continue to improve it service provided to Flinders Island. The Lady Barron port is the main restriction to the service currently provided which cannot be rectified. To continue freight operations from the lady Barron port is not an option for Furneaux Freight.  Recent communication with Tasports has indicated their dissatisfaction with the lady Barron Port being used as a distribution centre and Furneaux Freight are acting proactively in establishing a new centre so no further disruptions are caused to the service which is currently provided.

    The  proposed location of Furneaux Freights transit centre at lady Barron is the most economical and feasible solution given it’s close proximity to the port. This site has recently been purchased by Furneaux freight as it is in a commercially zoned area and will offer  minimal disruption to the service as all traffic transiting the port area will continue to do so weather the freight operations are conducted from the port area or the new proposed Transit depot. Whilst you may consider this an ‘inappropriate development site’, I encourage you to identify a more suited and appropriately zoned location which offers access to a Main Road, close proximity to the Port Area and flat area in which to construct a transit depot. 

6. Letter from Flinders Island Council

FICoucnilREFUSAL

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