Businesses and consumers north of Sydney are paying more to transport their goods because of the Berejiklian Government’s secret deal to block the development of a container terminal at Newcastle.
The secret arrangement imposed by the Liberals and Nationals when they privatised the ports means that Newcastle is prevented from developing a container terminal – forcing businesses north of Sydney to transport containers through Port Botany.
Industry sources have told the Labor Opposition that it costs about $1,500 for a truck to make the return journey from Port Botany to Newcastle.
This includes fuel, maintenance, vehicle booking fees, surcharges and labour; the tolls alone for travelling north from Port Botany are $68.19 one way (see below).
Tolls Eastern Distributor: $14.62 Lane Cove Tunnel: $10.16 M2: $21.69 Northconnex: $21.72 (opens in 2019) Total $68.19
These costs would be much reduced, or avoided altogether, if a container terminal was developed at Newcastle.
Governments should be trying to lower costs for business – not making secret deals to keep costs high.
Labor Leader Luke Foley has welcomed the news that the competition watchdog is now examining the secret deal that prevents Newcastle from developing a container terminal. But until it is scrapped businesses and shoppers in a wide swathe of the state from the Hunter and the Hawkesbury to New England and the Mid North Coast will be paying more to import and export their goods.
The Berejiklian Government’s decision to prevent Newcastle from competing with Port Botany means imposing high transport costs on businesses for 99 years.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Jodi McKay
“Minister Melinda Pavey has to explain why her Government is imposing high transport costs on businesses that import and export from northern NSW.
“The easy way to cut transport costs and help make businesses more competitive would be to let them move their products through Newcastle – instead of travelling a further 180 kilometres south to Port Botany.
“The Liberals and Nationals have imposed these high costs on business located in the north of the state for decades to come.
“Melinda Pavey is the minister responsible for both the ports and the toll roads – and she has tried to be invisible as this dreadful rort has been uncovered.
“She needs to justify the Liberals and Nationals actions to all of northern NSW, and, in particular to businesses in her own electorate of Oxley.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp
“The development of a container terminal would provide the city with a massive economic boost. It would create a new distribution hub which could use the existing heavy rail freight network to service the Hunter region and northern NSW.
“A terminal would ‘supercharge’ local job opportunities, improve linkages across the state and provide new commercial opportunities.
“This government has stopped all of this with an incredibly anti-competitive decision to impose a cap on the number of containers that can go across Newcastle’s wharves. This is the handbrake on our local economy that no-one here wants.”