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IPART determination removes major hurdle for Port of Newcastle

The Port of Newcastle will pay more than $10 million to settle a legislative process for competing against Port Botany

The Port of Newcastle has welcomed the determination of a one-off compensation payment that will see the port settle a legislative process and no longer be penalised for competing against Port Botany.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) ruling was that the Port of Newcastle make a one-off compensation payment of $10,120,000 (which will be approximately $13,100,000 when adjusted for CPI) under the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act 2022 (NSW).

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody says the determination figure means the port has one final regulatory roadblock to remove before meaningful progression can occur on a container terminal.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody. Image: Port of Newcastle

“This is a significant and historic milestone for Port of Newcastle and regional NSW – it’s a path forward that means we will no longer be penalised for wanting to offer choice and competition in NSW container trade,” Carmody says.

“Support across the political divide for this Act has been wonderful to see, but I must extend particular thanks to the Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, who courageously fought for regional NSW and ensured all political parties aligned for the benefit of the state.”

The Port of Newcastle extended its appreciation to all sides of parliament for the approach to the legislative process taken, with the port now turning its attention to the NSW Freight Reform Review.

“While we are delighted that the determination has been made, we now need to ensure the NSW Freight Reform Review, which the NSW government has commenced, also reflects the decision by parliament to promote competition through the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act,” Carmody says.

Image: Port of Newcastle

“The current Freight and Ports Policy states that Port Kembla is the designated second port for a container terminal in NSW, which impacts Port of Newcastle’s ability to get planning approvals for its own container terminal.

“We hope the NSW Freight Reform Review will agree that there should be a level playing field for competition rather than the state trying to pick winners.”

The IPART determination process has allowed the port to assume it has the support of all sides of parliament to move towards the expansion of container operations at the Port of Newcastle.

With the legislative process nearing completion, the port will continue focusing on growing exiting container trade through its new multipurpose terminal.

“Our immediate focus will be the continued growth of container trade through our existing multipurpose terminal, which we have invested over $35 million in and which currently has planning approval for 350,000 containers a year,” Carmody says.

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