Government Enquiry in Stevedore Infrastructure Charges

VIC opposition flags concerns over port  pricing review delays

STATE opposition ports spokesperson Roma Britnell has raised concerns about the length of time taken to set up a review into the Port of Melbourne pricing regime.
In October last year then ports Minister Luke Donnellan said the government would bring forward a review of port regulations as a result of infrastructure access fee increases from stevedores.
The stevedores themselves had noted higher rents as a factor in their decisions to increase introduce such fees.

The review is still to materialise, however, and Ms Britnell (who has strong connections with the dairy exporting sector from south-west Victoria) called on the government to act.
“Four months later, we haven’t seen a mention out of this government,” Ms Britnell said.

“The ACCC have quite clearly in their recommendations said [that] government needs to do some regulation here.

“So [the government] haven’t even, from what I understand, appointed the consultant and that’s not good enough.”

Ms Britnell denied the government was entitled to some leeway, given the change of minister and the distraction of the state election late last year.

“Not at all. Two years ago – and I was involved in the discussions around the port – [the dairy industry] raised as a concern about costs arising,” she said.

“They’ve had the chance to look through all the areas that could be of concern and they missed this completely.”

Ms Britnell said the NSW government left an avenue for the ability to intervene “when something goes quite wrong which is exactly what this is”.

“This government missed that opportunity,” she said.

Ports and freight minister Melissa Horne and Freight Victoria have been approached for comment.