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’’.
For what, one asks?
Details remain confidential because this restriction on trade is completely unjustified, may be unlawful and could be unenforceable.
It also makes no economic sense.