Government backs my Port of Newcastle Bill
8th November 2022
A busy day in Parliament today with debate set to start on my Port of Newcastle bill.
As you may have read in the media this morning, I've agreed to a Government amendment to provide a clear path for the port to diversify into containers without the unfair penalties placed on it.
I believe this diversification is vital for our region, our exporters and farmers and for NSW. It will create thousands of future jobs, attract billions in private investment, and this deal won't leave taxpayers on the hook for compensating the Sydney monopoly.
I also believe it's simply the right thing to do.
The Government is on board, the crossbench is on board and Port of Newcastle is on board. Here's hoping we get full cross-party support today.
Below is the full statement issued to media.
State Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper will today announce that he’s reached an agreement with the State Government on a deal which will unshackle the Port of Newcastle from controversial restrictions and pave the way for it to diversify into a container terminal.
Mr Piper’s Port of Newcastle bill is now expected to pass through the Legislative Assembly today with the addition of Government amendments which he has accepted.
Those amendments require the Government to appoint an independent and appropriately qualified person to determine what the fair market price for the lease on Newcastle port would have been if the restrictions on container trade were not in the original deed of agreement. Port of Newcastle, which holds the 99-year lease, would be required to pay the Government the difference between the new valuation and the $1.7 billion it paid in 2014.
The current restrictions on Port of Newcastle will be extinguished once that process has been completed, and that must occur within six months after application. Port of Newcastle is supportive of the new terms and has indicated it will move quickly to get the process under way.
“I’m very pleased that a level playing field will be returned to the State’s ports and that Newcastle will no longer be shackled to an unfair deal,” Mr Piper said.
“This has never been about one corporation over another, but about what’s best for Newcastle and the Hunter, for regional NSW, our farmers and exporters, and the future of international trade in NSW.
“I could not sit back knowing that for the next 43 years, this region would be denied the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs and attract billions of dollars worth of private investment by a deal which even the ACCC and Productivity Commission have said was unfair and unproductive.
“I want to thank the Treasurer Matt Kean for working through this issue with me and I’m hopeful the Bill will now receive the cross-party support it deserves when it’s debated on Tuesday.
“I’m also thankful for the cross-party support I’ve received on this issue, particularly from the Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, the Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp and the Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell.
“I’m also grateful to Port of Newcastle, not just for the support they have provided me but for the investment they are making in our region, the jobs they are creating for local people, and for their commitment to ensuring our region is ready to tackle the challenges of the decades ahead."
Picture: An artist's impression of a container vessel in Newcastle, courtesy of Port of Newcastle.