Ryan votes to block Labor’s port monopoly plan
26 June 2015
Friday 26 June 2015
Country Victorians will be the biggest losers under Daniel Andrew’s plan to privatise the Port of Melbourne.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan last night voted against Labor’s proposed sale, describing it as a greedy cash grab.
“Labor wants to lock future generations into paying compensation to whoever buys the port if another port is built any time in the next 50 to 70 years,” Ms Ryan said.
“Exporters, food producers and customers across the Euroa electorate will be exposed to whatever rents the leaseholder wants to charge. If the sale goes ahead under these conditions, there is no doubt that we will pay for it for years and years, like the desalination plant which is still costing us $1.8 million every day.
“Daniel Andrews’ plan exposes companies that use the port – including major employers like Fonterra in Stanhope and Schneider Electrics in Benalla – to higher costs, potentially affecting the viability of their products and regional employment.”
Ms Ryan told Parliament that Labor had no mandate to sell the port under the conditions it had proposed.
“Before the election, both sides of politics agreed that we needed to build a second container port in Victoria. The only argument was about where it should be built.
“Labor has now completely and utterly backflipped on that commitment.”
Ms Ryan said the Port of Melbourne was built on the back of food and fibre exports from our food and fibre producers.
“The top containerised exports distributed daily through the port include cereal grains, dairy products, wine, stockfeed, fruit, vegetable and meat from producers around regional Victoria,” Ms Ryan said.
“Despite the crucial importance of the port to regional Victoria, Labor plans to spend the estimated $6 billion it plans to raise from the sale of the port in metropolitan Melbourne.
“All revenue from the sale has been earmarked for level crossing removals in Melbourne with not one cent returning to country Victoria.”
Ms Ryan said the Coalition supported a sensible, medium term lease of the port in conjunction with the development of a second container port.
“The Nationals will not stand by while Labor sells the future of regional Victoria down the gurgler,” Ms Ryan said.