Media Reports

Revisiting a port of call – Newcastle Herald

REGARDING RDA Hunter's plans for the region’s economy: The Herald might ask deputy chair John Turner how the Hunter will become a trading powerhouse without a container terminal (“Hunter industry looks to strengthen ties with European union” 7/12). As a state MP, in 2000, he asked then Minister for the Hunter Richard Face: “Does the State Government's policy concerning the Hunter Advantage Strategy indicate that Newcastle would become the main port on the Eastern Seaboard? Mr Face answered: “The Hunter Advantage Strategy is a document prepared by the Hunter Regional Development Organisation for the Hunter Development Corporation and it does have…

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Editorial – Another planning strategy – Newcastle Herald

LAST time the NSW government tried to create a broad development strategy for the Hunter Region the result was a mess. That was in the days of the long-lived Labor administration, and the sense of sleaze that surrounded the declining years of the ALP’s tenure was blamed for discrediting the plan. Allegations that some well-connected developers had their pet rezoning proposals boosted – against the advice of senior planning bureaucrats – tainted the whole regional strategy in the minds of many. And for all the government’s talk of wanting to help develop the Hunter, its actions seemed to fall short.…

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A pattern is emerging – Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD IN our editorial leader on Friday, titled ‘‘Cash and national security’’, the Newcastle Herald canvassed the concerns raised by United States President Barack Obama over the 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company with alleged links to that nation’s military. As the Herald remarked, ‘‘few such concerns were raised when the NSW government sold a 99-year lease of the Port of Newcastle to a consortium that included a major Chinesegovernment-owned partner’’. From where I sit, foreign ownership of Australian assets has long been a hot topic of discussion. But old fears often fade. The…

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Letters – Newcastle Herald

The ‘‘secret’’ fee on container throughput at Newcastle port is more than $100 per container for throughput of more than 30,000 per year, plus an annual increase for ‘‘organic’’ growth. The Newcastle Herald, Newcastle City Council, Hunter business and Hunter unions can confirm this fee by asking Premier Mike Baird. Is there a reason not to? Greg Cameron, Florey (ACT)

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Foley rues missed port chances – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS THE Baird government ‘‘turned its back’’ on the opportunity to create competition when privatising the state’s ports, wiping out potential investment in Newcastle in favour of protecting Port Botany, Labor leader Luke Foley told the shipping industry. In a speech to Shipping Australia on Friday, Mr Foley described restrictions on the establishment of a container terminal at Newcastle as ‘‘appalling’’ and ‘‘dreadful market rigging’’. He reiterated he was ‘‘relaxed’’ about the ports being privatised, but not the way the government had structured the deal to limit competition. Port Botany and Port Kembla should not have been leased to…

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Transport and Logistic News – August 2012 – September 2015

NSW freight at the cross(rail)roads September 23, 2015 The NSW Ports Consortium, led by IFM Investors, and also comprising Australian Super, QSuper, Cbus, HESTA, HOSTPLUS and Tawreed Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, took ownership of Port Botany and Port Kembla in April 2013. They paid a premium price for Port Botany being protected against competition from Newcastle port. In return, the NSW government agreed to pay this consortium more than $100 per container for throughput at Newcastle port in excess of 30,000 per year, plus a margin for growth. The Newcastle port container…

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There must be container fees – Newcastle Herald

A GOVERNMENT fee of $100 per container would need to be charged at Newcastle port to fund compensation payments to the Port Botany leaseholder. Compensation is payable once container throughput at Newcastle port exceeds a cap, as disclosed by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay on October 17. Container handling charges at Port Botany are $120 for import and $76 for export. A compensation bill of $50 million a year would arise from container throughput of 500,000 per year at Newcastle port, should a container terminal be built. No funds are being allocated to pay compensation because the cap will not be…

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You will get light rail: Gay – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD A SENIOR Baird government minister has promised that the Newcastle light rail and the rest of the government’s electoral promises will be delivered ‘‘in full’’ despite ‘‘seemingly vexatious legal proceedings’’. The pledge was made by Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Duncan Gay at a Monday night dinner before tomorrow’s ninth annual Newcastle and Hunter Region Economic Development Forum, hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, or CEDA. Although the government says it is determined to build the light rail, its opponents are equally determined to carry the day, with Save Our Rail and its supporters…

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Editorial – Hunter needs job help – Newcastle Herald

ANY economy, national or local, that depends too heavily on a single industry sector for investment and jobs is asking for trouble. Not that it usually happens by design. In the Hunter, for example, state and federal government policies helped inflate the recent mining boom which also helped undermine other sectors of the economy. When labour prices soared thanks to the peaking boom, for example, some businesses could no longer compete for workers. The rising dollar, driven up in part by the boom, hurt other industries while governments – locked into budgetcutting policies – exacerbated the problem by cutting public-sector…

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Government called on to ‘come clean’ on cap – Newcastle Herald by Michael McGowan

JODI McKay has demanded the state government come clean on whether there is a cap on containers at the Port of Newcastle. Debate surrounding the terminal revived last week when the Newcastle Herald reported that Peter Francis, an executive with the private port operator, Port of Newcastle, told a business lunch the company was ‘‘looking at’’ a container terminal. Mr Francis also said there was ‘‘no limit on us doing that despite what we hear sometimes’’. That prompted Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp to call on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate any restrictions on container trade. He accused…

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Port container cap would hobble growth – Newcastle Herald

Restrictions on Newcastle need to be made clear, writes Tim Crakanthorp. IT would seem there is interest from the private operator of the Port of Newcastle in building a container terminal. However it would also seem that the Baird government wants to take this opportunity for Newcastle’s employment and growth off the table. The development of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle would provide the city with a massive economic boost. It would create a new distribution hub, which could use the existing heavy rail freight network to service the Hunter and northern NSW. A container terminal on…

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Port growth fires debate – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD THE potential for a Newcastle container terminal led to a rowdy exchange during state Parliament on Thursday as the Baird government batted away the opposition’s questions. The need for a terminal was raised again on Thursday evening when Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp made a private member’s speech. Mr Crakanthorp had earlier called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate any restrictions on container trade in Newcastle. Debate on the terminal revived this week when the Newcastle Herald reported a speech by an executive of the new private operator of the port, who said there was…

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Pushing the container case – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD Crakanthorp welcomes new interest in terminal NEWCASTLE MP Tim Crakanthorp is scheduled to address the state Parliament on Thursday about the potential for a Newcastle container terminal. The Labor parliamentarian is one of a number of opposition and cross-bench MPs who have been pushing the Baird government to come clean on various matters involved in the privatisations of Port Botany and Newcastle. The government at one stage confirmed a cap on container movements through Newcastle, but parliamentary efforts to obtain more detail have been rebuffed. Interest in the issue revived on Tuesday when Peter Francis, an executive with the…

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Port Play – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD August 12, 2015 Chief reveals container terminal on agenda THE private operator of the Port of Newcastle is looking at a container terminal for Newcastle, the first project proposed by BHP as the replacement for the steelworks. The apparent confirmation came from the Port of Newcastle’s executive manager of trade and business development, Peter Francis, at a Newcastle Business Club lunch on Tuesday. One of four port figures to address the meeting, Mr Francis did not refer to containers in his speech. But when asked by an audience member about the potential for ‘‘cars and containers’’ in the…

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Port deal has terminal effect – Newcastle Herald

PREMIER Mike Baird’s eyepopping $6.8 billion return from selling state-owned ports was achieved by guaranteeing to compensate the Port Botany leaseholder if a container terminal is built at the Port of Newcastle any time before 3012, when the 99-year lease expires. Mr Baird is hedging against having to pay up by charging a fee on container movements at Newcastle port that makes a container terminal uneconomic. In the event that container shipments exceed a ‘‘cap’’, a fee will be collected by the Newcastle port leaseholder from stevedore tenants of the port and paid to the Port Botany leaseholder, as ‘‘compensation’’.…

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Letters to the editor – Newcastle Herald

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS A RAIL freight bypass of Sydney – between the Port of Newcastle in the north and Glenfield in the south – would provide lowest-cost rail transport for containers, not only for the Sydney market, but for all of southern NSW and Victoria, while northern NSW would be served from Newcastle. The extraordinary regional economic development opportunities thus created would allow land value capture to underpin the cost of the railway, if railing containers alone was not sufficient. NSW Ports estimates Port Botany container throughput of 8.4 million in 2045 but only 3 million on rail, without demonstrating how…

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Container freight secrets – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS State THE state government has revealed ‘‘commitment deeds’’ signed along with leases that set out container arrangements for the state’s privatised ports, but is refusing to say whether a charge or cap on containers moved through the Port of Newcastle is also included. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian told Parliament this week the ports are ‘‘not prevented from competing for handling of containers’’, despite Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay saying in 2013 that ‘‘the government has been clear on this . . . that part of the lease and the rationalisation was a cap on numbers there [Newcastle]’’. A…

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Intermodal not approved – Australian Financial Review

Ministers Truss and Cormann announced on June 4 that Moorebank Intermodal Cosigned an agreement with the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance for the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.This agreement presumes that the federal Department of the Environment and the NSW Planning Department will grant environmental approvals ‘‘to address community concerns and minimise any potential adverse impacts on local residents and businesses’’. How do they know, in advance, the outcomes of the government’s environmental approvals process and the state government’s planning approvals process? Greg Cameron Florey, ACT

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Revel in the details – Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD STATEWIDE, the impending NSW election is effectively a referendum on the Baird government’s proposed ‘‘poles and wires’’ privatisation. Personally, I don’t have a strong opinion either way, because I doubt it will make too much difference, in the long run, to power prices. But if governments are going to the voters, seeking mandates on big-picture policy changes, they are impelled, more than ever, in my opinion, to be upfront and honest about all aspects of their proposals. And if you ask if I am worried the government might be less than transparent over the poles and wires, my…

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Greens seek truth on port – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD THE Greens will push whoever is in power in NSW after next month’s election to come clean on port leasing arrangements that are believed to stop Newcastle competing with Port Botany on large-scale container trade. Greens MLC John Kaye said on Sunday that the Baird government’s refusal to come clean on the lease of both ports had gone far enough. ‘‘The Liberals describe themselves as the party of free enterprise but there is growing evidence to show they have intervened to fatten up the sale price for Port Botany and Port Kembla at the expense of the…

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THE HUNTER’S WISH LIST – Newcastle Herald

LIGHT RAIL PLAN Finish light rail project in Newcastle and establish a long-term plan to expand the network. COVERED COAL WAGONS Introduce new legislation requiring coal wagons travelling through residential areas to be covered or contained. CONTAINER QUESTIONS Come clean on the secretive deal that protects a privatised Port Botany against competition from a Newcastle container terminal. FREIGHT RAIL BYPASS Build the freight rail bypass in the Fassifern to Hexham corridor as planned. This will also prevent an enormous amount of rail passing through Adamstown. GLENDALE INTERCHANGE Build a new rail station at Glendale and make firm commitments to the…

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EDITORIAL: Baird’s sell-off program – Newcastle Herald

NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird says he won’t be frightened by the Queensland election result into backing away from his own government’s asset sales program. That seems a reasonable stance, given the differences in the political climate in the two states. In Queensland, Campbell Newman put the Coalition on the nose as much with his style and his broken promises as with his privatisation program. By contrast, Mr Baird inherited the premiership from moderate Barry O’Farrell who created a climate of calm government, not overtly driven by the kind of rash ideological brain-snaps so characteristic of the Coalition at the…

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Port Botany owners prepare $2 billion debt refinancing – Australian Financial Review

IFM Investors is believed to be looking to refinance Port Botany and Port of Kembla, less than two years after leading a giant $5.1 billion bid for the two ports. Lending sources said IFM and its coinvestors, including AustralianSuper and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s Tawreed Investments, were preparing to tap financiers for a fresh line of debt in coming weeks, seeking to improve the cost and extend the term of the existing $2 billion syndicated facility. Investment bank UBS, which advised IFM’s bidding group on the April 2013 acquisition, is expected to oversee the refinancing. Sources said IFM would seek…

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Undisclosed fee holding back Newcastle – Newcastle Herald

A container terminal could boost our port, writes Greg Cameron. A SECRET fee was imposed on future container movements at the Port of Newcastle in 2012. Premier Mike Baird steadfastly declines to disclose it. To do so would invite examination of whether the fee violates Australian competition law. The fee was imposed to boost the sale price of the Port Botany lease. This lease was worth more by retaining Port Botany’s status as the only container port in NSW. The fee is the primary impediment to building a container terminal in Newcastle. Remove it and the land that is suitable…

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Greens demand details of secret deal to cap Newcastle containers – ABC

The New South Wales Greens have accused the state government of trying to cover up a deal to cap the number of container movements through the Port of Newcastle. Greens MP John Kaye said questions have been put to the Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay and the Treasurer Andrew Constance about the size of the cap and what compensation would be paid if the cap is exceeded. Dr Kaye said both MPs have dodged the question, referring the matter back to each other. "Duncan Gay and the Treasurer Andrew Constance are playing pass the parcel," he said. "They're refusing…

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Government accused of port deal “cover up” – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS Dec. 16, 2014, 9:30 p.m. THE state government has been accused of a ‘‘blatant attempt at a cover up’’ after two ministers claimed the other was responsible for answering questions about whether a secret cap exists on the number of containers that can be moved though the Port of Newcastle. Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay and Treasurer Andrew Constance referred to each other identical questions lodged in State Parliament by two Greens MPs about whether compensation is payable to the lease holder of Port Botany if container movements through the Port of Newcastle exceed a threshold.…

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OPINION: Restrictions may be unlawful – Newcastle Herald

By GREG CAMERON Nov. 20, 2014, 9:30 p.m.   IT is anti-competitive to prevent a container terminal being built at the Port of Newcastle by imposing conditions that make the investment unprofitable. A cap on container movements at the port that restricts or prevents competition with Port Botany may be unlawful and unenforceable under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. It is anti-competitive to charge a fee for container movements at the Port of Newcastle, but not for container movements at Port Botany. Paying compensation to NSW Ports, the Port Botany leaseholder, for container movements at the Port of Newcastle, is…

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Jodi McKay’s moment of truth at ICAC – The Australian

THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 08, 201412:00AM THE Newcastle Knights fans are making their way to the stadium for the last game of a glum year, a season in which the embattled businessman Nathan Tinkler forfeited ownership of the team. Former state MP Jodi McKay, 45, has been chatty and relaxed on the drive up from Sydney but now, stopped at a set of lights near Hunter Stadium as flag-waving fans saunter past, her arms are crossed, her lips are pursed and she’s retreated into herself. She has been back to Newcastle only half a dozen times since she fled the city…

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Editorial – Container Terminal Policy – Newcastle Herald

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is right to be concerned about the NSW government’s ports and stevedoring policy. When governments privatise assets, they naturally want the highest price they can get. That’s understandable, given that – in the case of the state’s ports – the new owners control the assets for 98 years. The leases can only be sold once, so it’s important to get a good price. A problem arises, however, when the anxiety to maximise the sale price leads to poor decisions that force adverse consequences onto third parties with no say in the matter. The ACCC…

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Newcastle container terminal block may be ‘unlawful’, says ACCC – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD Oct. 30, 2014, 12:34 p.m. AUSTRALIA’S competition regulator says any restrictions on container trade through the Port of Newcastle may be ‘‘unlawful and . . . unenforceable’’. In an annual report on stevedoring published on Thursday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has investigated the way the state government leased Port Botany and Port Kembla to one consortium for $5.07billion and Newcastle to another group for $1.75billion. The ACCC quoted a Newcastle Herald report of May 11 this year, which said: ‘‘The government has confirmed it leased Botany with a clause that prevented Newcastle from competing against it…

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