Revised: Leading Practice: Port Master Planning Approaches and Future Opportunities

Posted on
April 17, 2020


*This publication has been revised since it was first posted on Ports Australia's website in 2019*

Under the direction of the National Ports Strategy (NPS) released in 2012, port master planning has been identified as central to the improvement of land use planning and corridor protection in and around Australian ports.

It is our view that comprehensive port master planning can also lead to improved productivity outcomes, increased investment confidence and greater environmental protection.

This study was commissioned by Ports Australia to:

  • proactively assist ports in their response to the enhanced master planning focus outlined in the NPS
  • broaden the discussion and capture the potential benefits of comprehensive port master planning
  • outline various approaches to master planning both within Australia and internationally; and
  • address regulatory streamlining and reform options.

The challenge

Whilst the focus of this study was port master plans (primarily that long-term planning which occurs internal to port boundaries) the study has also considered broader planning considerations – ‘beyond-the-port-boundary’.

It is very clear that we must move away from port master plans being developed in isolation – simply addressing ‘within boundary’ issues. ‘If we are to meet the challenge of growth we must move away from ports being treated like islands; unconnected from broader planning and transport links in the cities and regions where they are sited.’ (Federal Minister Hon. Anthony Albanese MP – Keynote address to Ports Australia Biennial Conference, 2012)

This study has included a review of specific port master planning case studies (both within Australia and internationally) and a review of strategic and policy approaches in and around ports (including regulatory approaches used in the management and protection of the port interface).

The benefits of master plans

Port master plans help clarify and communicate the port vision – they form a critical part in a ports’ ‘licence to grow’. They also provide a strategic framework for port authorities to consider a range of internal and external factors that may impact on current and/or future operations.

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