NSW Labor can reveal the Berejiklian Government splashed almost $75 million on external consultants, lawyers and investment bankers to draw up the port rort documents which purposefully damage the growth of Newcastle Port.
It follows an analysis of Crown Entity Financial Statements by the NSW Opposition.
Under the rort, Newcastle Port is forced to pay a hefty penalty to its competitor if it handles more than 30,000 shipping containers per year. The penalty is specifically designed to stifle the growth of Newcastle Port, suppressing desperately-needed jobs in the Hunter region and damaging local industry through higher transportation costs.
Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it was investigating the Liberal Government’s ports deal and whether it breaches the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 by substantially lessening market competition.
The analysis reveals NSW taxpayers forked out $74,246,391 on external consultants during the sale of the ports, including more than $10 million each to Morgan Stanley, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Minter Ellison.
Industry sources have reported that it costs around $1,500 for a truck to make the return journey from Port Botany to Newcastle. This has the effect of pushing up prices of local goods which could otherwise be moved through Newcastle Port, saving millions of dollars each year for local businesses to reinvest and create jobs.
Quotes attributable to Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington
“Spending $75 million to stop the growth of Newcastle Port is an appalling use of public money given its purpose was to damage the Hunter region for decades to come.
“Every step of the way, Premier Berejiklian has fought to keep the details of this dodgy deal a secret from the public. Now we find out they spent an eye-watering amount of money to apply the handbrake on the Hunter’s economy.
“It’s unbelievable to see the lengths this Government has gone to in an effort to slow the Hunter’s growth and suppress new jobs in our region.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp
“I have been raising this issue since 2015 and asked over 80 questions of the Minister in Parliament; this deal has been dodgy from the start.
“This is $75 million that could have been in invested in our local schools and hospitals.
“This Port Rort has robbed Newcastle of jobs, investment and productivity. As further details are revealed we can truly see how much of a dodgy deal this really was.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 25 May 2018.