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Tripodi gone, truckers seek Botany breakthrough

Scandal-plagued NSW Ports Minister Joe Tripodi dumped, replaced by promoted Paul McLeay

November 16, 2009

Port haulage operators in New South Wales hope a change of minister will result in a change of practice at the congested Port Botany terminals.

Scandal-plagued Ports Minister Joe Tripodi has been dumped from the post by Premier Nathan Rees for undermining his leadership.

Rees has promoted Paul McLeay to the front bench to handle ports and waterways, in a ministerial reshuffle that also sees infrastructure added to Kristina Keneally’s planning responsibilities.

The Australian Trucking Association’s NSW branch says it will seek an early meeting with McLeay as it works through a number of contentious landside logistics issues at the port.

Tripodi had signalled regulatory intervention to improve efficiency at the port and imposing penalty charges on stevedores for poor performance.

“In recent times, trucking operators have been forced to queue for up to five hours to pick up containers at the port,” ATA-NSW Container Sub-Committee Chairman Mike Moylan says.

Moylan will seek answers on reforms to the vehicle booking system, plans to open empty container parks around the clock to meet demand and the need for truck parking and driver facilities at the port.

ATA-NSW Manager Jill Lewis says Tripodi was a “good minister”.

“We didn’t always agree, but he was always willing to engage in a healthy debate and was determined to see reforms made to the port,” she says.

Former transport ministers Michael Daley and Eric Roozendaal have landed more responsibility in the reshuffle, with Daley adding finance to his police ministry and Roozendaal taking on state development.

Primary industries minister Ian Macdonald was also sacked from the ministry, with his portfolio to be taken by Land Minister Tony Kelly.

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