Victoria tables Port of Melbourne lease proposal


VTA says enabling legislation is a step in the right direction for gateway

Victoria tables Port of Melbourne lease proposal
CEO Peter Anderson says the VTA welcomes the state government's port leasing plan

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed state legislation that will enable the long-term lease of the Port of Melbourne.

The draft laws, along with an outline of the proposed leasing arrangements, were introduced to the Victorian Parliament yesterday.

Treasurer Tim Pallas says the planned 50-year lease, with an option to extend for a further 20 years, could bring up to $6 billion into the state coffers.

Most of that windfall will be allocated to the state government’s plan to remove level crossings around the state.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says transport operators are "encouraged" that the up-front lease proceeds will go into the Victorian Transport Fund, rather than leaking into non-transport related projects.

"It is vital that as a state we continue to grow this fund so that important infrastructure projects and spending is unimpeded, and that Victoria can remain competitive with other states as a hub for freight and logistics," he says.

Anderson also welcomed the decision to include a cap on rate increases for the new operator, saying the VTA had lobbied for this specifically.

"Capping rate increases on prescribed port related costs to inflation for the first 15 years of the lease is good news for freight operators, because it will provide them the certainty they need to confidently invest in port assets."

Overall, Anderson says the lease will be good news for Victorians and the transport industry, but he warns stakeholders they will need to cooperate to get the best value for the infrastructure investment it funds.

"It is important that all parties proceed carefully and methodically, so that proceeds are maximised in a way that enables port operators to remain competitive," he says.

"This includes addressing proposed excessive rent increases, which would have a knock-on effect across the supply chain, including higher prices on consumer goods."

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) was also positive in response to the move.

"ALC has been an industry leader in the debate on the need for governments to recycle appropriate infrastructure assets and for the proceeds to be invested in productive logistics infrastructure," ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff says.

"ALC supports the long term lease of the Port of Melbourne, including the Government’s plans to offer a 50-year lease for the port as well as its proposal for the Victorian Essential Services Commission to provide regulatory oversight - both of which are sensible policy propositions."

 

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