The Victorian Coalition Government is investigating the strategic and commercial options for the future of Victoria’s state-owned ports, Treasurer Michael O’Brien confirmed today.
“The Coalition Government is carefully considering the future of Victoria’s port assets to ensure they deliver the best return to Victorian taxpayers,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Brien said any future decision on assets that are critical to the economic vitality of Victoria, such as ports, needs to be made responsibly.
“We must consider all the complexities relating to the future growth, demand, management and ownership of Victoria’s ports. We also believe there is a real potential to leverage commercial interest in Victoria’s ports to generate significant opportunities to fund new infrastructure,” Mr O’Brien said.
Minister for Ports David Hodgett said the Coalition Government is committed to an integrated ports strategy and wants to ensure the best efficiency is achieved out of Victoria’s commercial ports network.
“We are making sure we can develop the Port of Melbourne and the Port of Hastings strategically, and making sure we maintain our position as the freight and logistics capital of Australia,” Mr Hodgett said.
“Labor’s hurried plans to sell the Port of Melbourne not only locked up the port land for the next century, but were based on Tim Pallas incorrectly guessing the Port has a capacity of more than 8 million TEU.
“Any decision our government makes on the future of our ports network will be carefully considered, factually based, and will be in the best interests of supporting the state’s continued growth.”
The scoping study is considering:
– future ownership options of the two ports including the timing, economic and commercial value of each option;
– the role and impact of efficient ports and logistics on the State’s economy;
– timely future development of the Port of Hastings;
– trade growth projections;
– capacity and dependencies on road and rail network linkages and enhancements;
– environmental, safety and economic regulation; and
– key policy recommendations from the Victorian Freight and Logistics Plan, Plan Melbourne and the Fisherman’s Bend urban renewal project.
The scoping study will be finalised prior to the release of the 2014-15 state budget.
Mr O’Brien said that the Coalition Government’s approach contrasted sharply with that proposed by the Labor Party.
“Labor and Daniel Andrews have already committed to a fire sale of the Port of Melbourne for the sake of a quick buck,” he said.
“Labor’s port fire sale is driven by panic over their $19 billion in unfunded transport policies. By contrast, the Coalition Government will sensibly determine the best way to maximise value from our ports that also supports our freight and logistics industry into the future.
“Only the Coalition Government can be trusted to manage the future of our ports to ensure the interests of Victorians are protected. Labor has learnt nothing from their previous major project disasters such as myki and the desalination plant. Victorians simply cannot trust Labor to manage money or our state’s economy,” Mr O’Brien said.
Press Release, March 5, 2014