FOLEY WELCOMES ACCC INQUIRY INTO PORTS PRIVATISATION DEAL THAT HOBBLED HUNTER ECONOMY

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NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has welcomed the competition watchdog's decision to examine the secret deals struck by the Liberal State Government surrounding the sale of the Port of Newcastle.

The secret deals were created by the NSW Liberals and their Coalition partners, the Nationals, when they privatised three ports; Botany, Kembla and Newcastle.

The aim was to boost the sale price of Port Botany by selling its container business as a NSW monopoly; an entrenched monopoly fetched more than a business facing robust competition.

The deal imposes a fine on the Port of Newcastle should it try to develop a container terminal. Astonishingly, the proceeds of the fines are then paid to Port Botany.

As well as eliminating the prospect of competition in the movement of containers in NSW, the deal also prevents the diversification and development of the Hunter’s economy.

The deal only finally came to light thanks to a leak from a whistle-blower.

Labor has campaigned on this issue for years and is heartened to see that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking up the case.

Labor has called on the NSW Government to publicly release all the secret arrangements it entered into as part of it privatization program and to guarantee its full cooperation with the ACCC’s inquiry.

Comments attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

"The NSW Liberals and Nationals concocted an arrangement that is clearly anti-competitive and designed to entrench a private monopoly.

"It is astonishing that any government would enter into a secret deal so deliberately designed to hurt Newcastle’s economic development.

"This is the Liberals at their very worst.

“Labor has pursued the Liberals and Nationals on this in the Parliament and saw the lengths Gladys Berejiklian went to in her attempt to conceal the truth. 

"I call on the ACCC to use all of its investigative powers to expose what the Liberals and Nationals got up to and to finally reveal the truth."

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Maritime and Freight Jodi McKay

“After what the liberals did with their secret deals I’m surprised that Premier Berejiklian has the nerve to show her face in Newcastle. She should be ashamed.

“This is an anti-competitive arrangement designed to impose higher port costs on everyone in NSW for 99 years. Hopefully the ACCC will expose the truth.”