Author: Ian Kirkwood
NEWCASTLE Port Corporation will spend $18.1 million this year on capital works but its spending allocations have been overshadowed by the state government’s plans to lease out Port Kembla for a major container and cargo development.
While the Port Kembla project is clearly long term – Treasury officials say Port Botany could more than triple in size before running out of space – it effectively kills any aspirations Newcastle has had to being the state’s next container port.
Infrastructure NSW chief executive Paul Broad has been talking down the prospect in recent months anyway, but the government’s opting for Port Kembla as an official overflow and backup port for Port Botany effectively buries the 2003 “three ports policy” that Labor used to endorse Newcastle’s place in the development queue.
Instead, Newcastle will continue to rely on coal, although the port corporation is working on cargo diversification plans with private sector providers.