Media Reports

Port prices a ‘concern’ – Australian Financial Review

Jenny Wiggins [States] generally have arrangements where they can step in if price increases are excessive. Rod Sims, ACCC Competition watchdog chairman Rod Sims has called on state governments to keep a “close eye” on newly privatised container ports amid concerns price rises will be passed on to consumers. “There have been very high multiplespaidforsomeoftheseportsandthe worry is that the buyers may only recoup their outlays if they push up prices quite a bit more than otherwise would have happened,” Mr Sims told TheAustralianFinancialReview. Although productivity at container ports has reached its highest levels since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission…

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Editorial – What next after the elections? – Newcastle Herald

VOTERS in last weekend’s byelections for Newcastle and Charlestown could be excused for feeling at least mildly resentful. Rounded up to cast votes for candidates who will scarcely warm their parliamentary benches before the general election next March, some voters might well have wondered whether the exercise had much point. Indeed, it seems about one in five eligible voters elected not to bother, risking a $55 fine instead. Newcastle voters will be back to the booths on November 15 to choose a new lord mayor. All three elections were made necessary by resignations that followed revelations in the Independent Commission…

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Daily Telegraph Ned Mannoun

MELBOURNE, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Seoul, Berlin … cities all around the world are rediscovering their ­rivers. The River Thames in London, once known as the “great sewer”, is undergoing a huge transformation, ­including the development of an architect-designed outdoor bathing centre. A kick-starter project has ­proposed a swimming pool in New York’s Hudson River. Even in Lagos, Nigeria, a floating school uses the waterways as a ­sustainable way of educating the underprivileged. Governments everywhere are turning stormwater drains into streams — except in Liverpool, where it seems we would rather do the reverse and turn southwest Sydney’s beautiful ­Georges…

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IT’S A STEEL – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD THE future of OneSteel’s Newcastle steel mills is under a cloud after owner Arrium confirmed it was looking to sell at least part of the site and lease it back. The decision has taken the main union at the site, the Australian Workers Union, by surprise. Union secretary Richard Downie said that more than 1500 people were employed at the various Mayfield mills and the union would be seeking details of the proposal from the company. Mr Downie said OneSteel’s bar mill was shut but it was still making rod, wire, rope and tube products. The land…

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Whose castle now? – Newcastle Herald

By GREG RAY Oct. 10, 2014, 9:30 p.m. IN the wake of this year's sensational hearings in the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Newcastle people have been left wondering which of the two major parties is worse. Labor had decades of almost uninterrupted control of the electorate, but at the state level it appeared to achieve relatively little for Newcastle until the controversial introduction of celebrity candidate Jodi McKay. Then McKay, having taken the seat controversially from former Labor member Bryce Gaudry, was spectacularly knifed by the state ALP in astonishing circumstances. Newcastle was on track to have a container terminal built…

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Many ports in a storm is better – Newcastle Herald

IAN Kirkwood referred to a number of reasons put forward by Duncan Gay, the Roads and Freight Minister, as to why the NSW government prevented the development of a container terminal at Newcastle, one of these being that shipping lines do not want “numerous ports of call” (‘‘No terminal for Newcastle’’ Herald 23/9). How is it then that in the South Island of New Zealand the same shipping lines call at five ports on the East Coast with just 700km between the northern and southernmost port. Times have changed – inland transport and container logistics costs are now dominant in…

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Container hub a ‘must do’ – Newcastle Herald

WE should not forget that while Greg Cameron provides us with further compelling evidence to build a container terminal here, the decision to not have one is tarnished with corruption. The supporters of the terminal have pointed to the need for diversification in our local economy. With the downturn in the coal industry, this has become an imperative. If the rents from the world’s busiest coal port along with private investment cannot support building a container terminal and a modest passenger terminal, then our government has reached a critical level of dysfunction. Any local politician who is considering election in…

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Hunter container terminal could succeed – Newcastle Herald

A rail freight bypass line would benefit everyone, writes Greg Cameron. NSW PREMIER Mike Baird should disclose the compensation payable to Port Botany leaseholder, NSW Ports, if a container terminal is developed at the Port of Newcastle. A cap on container movements at Newcastle limits a new terminal to little more than 15,000 per year. The NSW government is being misleading when it says the lease agreement permits development of a container terminal. The cap is concealed within confidential lease documents. In 2010, the Grup TCB/Anglo Ports Consortium was ready to sign a development agreement with Newcastle Port Corporation for…

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No terminal for Newcastle – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD THE state government has again ruled out a largescale Newcastle container terminal despite growing anger over traffic gridlock in the Sydney suburbs around Port Botany. A front-page report in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald quoted the government’s ‘‘embarrassment’’ over the issue, with the new operator of Port Botany, a company called NSW Ports, saying it was having problems getting its containers out of Botany to their destinations. With most of the 150 hectare former BHP steelworks site sitting vacant, sections of the shipping industry remain convinced that Newcastle holds the key to ending the cargo congestion. Richard Setchell,…

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Editorial – It’s time to revisit port plan – Newcastle Herald

ON one hand, the NSW government is embarrassed at excessive heavy truck movements on Sydney's roads, caused by its inability to get a reasonable fraction of containers imported through Port Botany onto rail. On the other hand, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has alleged that a well-advanced plan for a container terminal on former BHP steelworks land in Newcastle was derailed by Labor Party treachery. It might have been supposed that any rational government would join the dots and revisit the development so appallingly stolen from Newcastle, especially when there's a seeming benefit for the state capital. But for some…

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More trucks on Sydney roads as government fails to hit rail share targets – Sydney Morning Herald

Date September 22, 2014 - 1:47AM Jacob Saulwick Transport Reporter Congested: As the volume of goods and traffic flowing through Port Botany expands, roads are becoming increasingly crowded. Photo: John Veage The NSW government is failing in its aim of moving an increasing proportion of freight throughout Sydney on rail, leading to more heavy trucks on the road. The development, which Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay concedes is a "slight embarrassment", comes amid rapid growth in the volume of goods and commodities being moved through Sydney's container port at Botany. The state Coalition government wants to lift the share of…

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Freight off the rails – Sydney Morning Herald

Jacob Saulwick    Transport Reporter More trucks on roads Government ‘embarrassment’ at network failure More trucks are crowding onto Sydney roads despite the NSW government’s bid to push freight back onto rail. The development, which Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay concedes is a ‘‘slight embarrassment’’, comes amid rapid growth in the volume of goods and commodities being moved through Sydney’s container port at Botany. The state Coalition government wants to bolster the share of containers moved through the port from 14 per cent to 28 per cent by the start of the next decade. This is a downgrade from the former…

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Port lease no bar to containers – Newcastle Herald

THE editorial ‘‘Labor gets the point at last’’ (Herald 17/9) infers that a container terminal is lost to Newcastle. In fact, the Port of Newcastle lease agreement does not prevent development of a container terminal. Rather, it is prevented by a cap placed on container movements by the NSW government for the purpose of avoiding the need to compensate the Port Botany leaseholder should it lose its monopoly over container movements. The cap can be removed as easily as it was imposed. Port Botany container terminal operations can be moved to Newcastle and containers railed to Eastern Creek in outer…

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Port logistics warning from Qube – Australian Financial Review

Matthew Stevens matthew.stevens@afr.com.au  The Port of Melbourne is on the brink of pricing itself out of some markets and prospective buyers of the jewel in Victoria’s logistics crown should not assume that container volumes will remain at current levels, let alone grow at the rates predicted. This warning was delivered on Wednesday by Qube Logistic’s chief executive Maurice James, who was speaking to a Melbourne forum on logistics. James was preaching to the unconverted. His audience was overpopulated by those either trying to sell the Port of Melbourne or with an interest in the state government’s plans to build a…

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Savage circus of politics – Newcastle Herald

GREG RAY gray@theherald.com.au   WHO could blame Sophie Mill for withdrawing her candidacy for the coming Newcastle state byelection? The former staffer for departed Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owen had put her hand up to run as an overtly Liberal-aligned independent, but changed her mind. ‘‘For some reason when you stand for politics you become a free target for personal attacks, and I’m not the sort of person who can deal with that,’’ she said. She’s right about politics being rough and nasty, and I don’t think many people are really equipped to handle it. I’ve been acquainted with quite a…

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A policy in name only – Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD LISTENING to the ICAC hearings, the dominant motif last week was still brave Jodi McKay defending the government’s preferred Newcastle container terminal against the alleged ogre Nathan Tinkler’s plan for that evil of evils, a coal-loader. If only it was so simple. In my own plodding way, I have been covering the industry rounds at the Newcastle Herald since well before a shipping terminal – bulk cargoes with some containers – emerged in 1997 as a preferred use of the steelworks site once BHP stopped steelmaking in 1999. And even then, it was government policy in name only.…

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Port boss kept vital meeting notes – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS TREASURER Eric Roozendaal pressed the boss of Newcastle Port Corporation to resign and blocked details of a container terminal proposal going to its board within days of Labor power-broker Joe Tripodi meeting Buildev about their rival coal-loader idea. A 2010 file note tendered to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and prepared by then corporation chief executive Gary Webb records the gist of a meeting with Mr Roozendaal, who was then also ports minister. Mr Roozendaal ordered him not to send details of the Anglo Ports consortium’s container terminal project for the Mayfield former steelworks site to the…

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Release full terminal report – Newcastle Herald

THE Newcastle Herald is right to question the legitimacy of ‘‘some of the decisions the government has made for the city since it took power’’. One of them was to prevent a container terminal being developed at the Port of Newcastle. The government should release the 22-page Treasury report dated February 4, 2011, titled Review of Proposed Uses of Mayfield and Intertrade Lands at Newcastle. The report was prepared by Treasury apparently for the purpose of justifying a decision not to proceed with a container terminal on the former steelworks site in 2011. Several pages were leaked to the Herald…

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Ghost a reminder of how city missed out – Newcastle Herald

GREG RAY gray@theherald.com.au   I SAW the ghost of Uncle Joe this week. Uncle Joe Tripodi, that is, one of the two great pillars of NSW Labor’s recent past who, along with Uncle Eddie Obeid, ran the state like a nice tight ship, flipping premiers as required and working wonders for their friends and families. I saw Joe’s ghost in the exhibits tabled at the ICAC’s Operation Spicer, and let me tell you, it brought back memories. For a moment, I got a bit nostalgic for that time when we discovered that Uncle Joe had helped make sure Newcastle wouldn’t have a…

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Jeff McCloy, Hilton Grugeon, sought to develop port land – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS Aug. 5, 2014, 10 p. TWO prominent Hunter developers at the centre of NSW’s  latest corruption inquiry pitched to redevelop the same Port of Newcastle site that Nathan Tinkler pursued for a coal-loader and is  being investigated over. Hilton Grugeon and Jeff McCloy, now   lord mayor of Newcastle, together with Macquarie Bank, formed a consortium that proposed a multi-purpose shipping terminal for the former BHP steelworks site at Mayfield in 2007. It was shortlisted among bids for the redevelopment of the state government-owned land, with proponents able to submit plans for part or the entire 150 hectares.…

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Plenty to gain by moving Botany container facility – Newcastle Herald

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State blocked terminal plans – Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS THE state government considered and knocked back plans for a $600 million container terminal at Mayfield, but is denying it was because of Nathan Tinkler’s rival coal loader plan or that it always intended to privatise its ports. And it has emerged a government probity check of Mr Tinkler’s coal terminal pitch for the same Mayfield site found no problems with the proposal, which is now at the centre of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s latest inquiry. Mr Tinkler’s coal loader proposal was refused by cabinet in 2012, after he put it directly to the government via…

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Plan to ease airport traffic congestion – Sydney Morning Herald

Nicole Hasham    State Politics An upmarket hotel, a transport interchange and new one-way roads have been proposed to tackle the traffic nightmares plaguing Sydney Airport. NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather on Sunday confirmed the measures were being examined. They are designed to relieve chronic traffic congestion that has helped make the airport the most unpopular in the country. Sydney Airport is under pressure to invest in infrastructure and improve the traveller experience, as the building of a rival airport at Badgerys Creek draws closer and passenger numbers surge. Ms Mathers said a draft…

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Stormy waters for port customers Shipping – Sydney Morning Herald

Chris Tolhurst The introduction of private operators to some ports in NSW and Queensland and stepped-up competition among stevedores has to date failed to bring much downward pressure on port charges. In fact, shipping lines say high levels of bureaucracy, high wages and monopoly port structures help make Australia one of the most expensive placesintheworldtomovecargo. Rod Nairn , chief executive of industry group Shipping Australia, says state governments are adding to the costs by bringing in port access and infrastructure levies on cargomovements. Australia’s major ports apply complex and multi-charge pricing structures. “It’s a very complicated web of fees for…

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EDITORIAL: A warning against asset sales – Newcastle Herald

June 23, 2014, 10:30 p.m.   WARNING: Rod Sims - "Privatising in ways that limit competition in order to maximise the sale proceeds is the wrong way".   THE conflict of interest involved in governments pushing privatisation agendas is seldom discussed. Governments want the highest price they can get when they sell public assets, and it seems that can make them forget their duty to act in the best interests of citizens. As the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, has warned: ‘‘Privatising in ways that limit competition in order to maximise the sale proceeds is…

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Sims threat to big state asset sales – Australian Financial Review

PUBLISHED: 23 JUN 2014 00:06:00 | UPDATED: 23 JUN 2014 10:37:40 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims warns that the new wave of state government privatisations, including electricity ­distributors and ports, could hurt competition and push up prices. In an apparent hint that he may be prepared to block asset sales at the ­centre of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s plan to drive economic growth, Mr Sims says competition has taken a back seat in the recent wave of state-owned asset sales. Australia has lost “a lot of its pro-competition culture” gained from Fred Hilmer’s landmark review of competition policy 20…

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Claim money men burnt midnight oil over deal – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD BANKERS worked through the night to finish the $1.75billion lease of the Port of Newcastle before the state funeral of former premier Neville Wran, the Australian Financial Review reported on Saturday. But another event held Sydney’s attention on the day of the funeral, in the form of port-related evidence given to the Independent Commission Against Corruption by former Newcastle MP Jodi McKay. According to the AFR story, the bankers had to rush to finish the deal to meet a deadline of 2pm on Wednesday, April 30. ‘‘ ... getting the deal completed before Wran’s funeral made it tough to…

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Interestings times for container terminal plans – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD May 11, 2014, 10 p.m THE Newcastle Herald’s electronic database shows I’ve written about 150 articles in 15 years about the on-again, off-again plans to build a container terminal on the former BHP steelworks site at Mayfield. Increasingly, as the odds against the terminal have lengthened, my reporting has centred on the efforts of former BHP public affairs officer, Greg Cameron, who was part of the terminal team from the start and who remains its most outspoken advocate despite the official indifference, if not outright opposition, to the idea. I’ve spent countless hours on the phone with Cameron because…

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Plans silent for BHP site – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD May 2, 2014, 10 p.m. THE new owners of the Port of Newcastle say it is too early to talk about the future of the former BHP steelworks site that was raised in this week’s Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings. Canberra-based public affairs analyst Greg Cameron was heavily involved in the original plan to redevelop the steelworks site as a container terminal. He continues to promote the idea more than a decade later, saying the more container ships that could be shifted from Botany to Newcastle, the better it would be for both cities. ‘‘Newcastle would get the…

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Container terminal ‘shame’ – Newcastle Herald

By DONNA PAGE May 1, 2014, 11:30 p.m. A ‘‘DIRTY tricks’’ campaign to promote Nathan Tinkler’s failed coal-loader bid cost Newcastle the chance at a $600million container terminal development, a supporter of the proposal said yesterday. Canberra-based public affairs analyst Greg Cameron said he found it ‘‘astonishing’’ that forces within the former Labor government were working against the proposal because they thought there was more money to be made from a coal-loader on the former steelworks site. Mr Cameron was speaking after hearing evidence given at the ICAC yesterday where it was alleged former Labor member for Newcastle Jodi McKay was…

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