Council Backs Aid Solution for King Island

Apollo Bay Harbour Aerial View

Colac Otway Shire Council is supporting a bid to find transport options to deliver much-needed food for livestock to the farmers of King Island.

As a farming community, Colac Otway Shire is empathetic to the circumstances facing the King Island farmers and community who have experienced an extended period of dry conditions.

Council CEO Anne Howard said it was wonderful that Need for Feed Australia had been able to source 500 tonnes or about 770 bales of current season oaten hay near Swan Hill.

"A range of parties are working to find the most suitable arrangement for the transport of this essential feed to King Island," Ms Howard said.

Ms Howard confirmed that Council received a request to ship the freight via the Port of Apollo Bay, however the scale of the proposed operations cannot be supported at this time.

"The Port of Apollo Bay is a local port and not a commercial trading port. Council has received an independent engineering report that has assessed that freight movements of this scale present risks to the port's infrastructure and operations," she said.

"Colac Otway Shire Council, as the port manager, and the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning, as the port owner, have determined that until those risks are resolved it is not appropriate to approve the movement of this freight at this time, especially while viable options are available."

Hay and feed can be readily shipped from commercial ports across Victoria including Portland, Geelong and Welshpool. There are a number of vessels currently operating from these ports to King Island that could accommodate this request.

Council understands that these alternative ports may come a greater cost, however there are ports that are already well-equipped and experienced in the safe and effective movement of this freight, and with the urgency required.

"Council will continue to work collaboratively with the Department of State Growth in Tasmania and Victoria's Department of Transport and Planning to support finding an urgent solution for the King Island community," Ms Howard said.

"Providing aid to the farmers of King Island is something Council wholeheartedly supports and we are keen to see the freight moving from northern Victoria as soon as possible."

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