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Stevedoring levy ends this month.
Warren Truss Minister for Transport and Regional Services Deputy Leader of The Nationals
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DOTARS06/080WT 25 May 2006
Stevedoring levy ends this month
The Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, today announced that the stevedoring levy would cease at the end of this month.
“The levy was introduced in 1998, to support the Australian Government’s waterfront reform agenda and it has effectively funded the major reform and restructuring of the stevedoring industry through redundancy payments,” he said.
The levy has recently been collected at an average of $3.4 million per month.
Mr Truss said the funds from the levy have been used by Maritime Industry Finance Company (MIFCo) to fund redundancy packages for 1,487 employees - at a cost of more than $178.3 million.
“I am sure the cessation of the levy, four years ahead of schedule, will be welcomed by the stevedoring industry which has been absorbing the cost of levy.
“Over the past eight years, the levy has done its job in supporting workplace reform and restructuring,” he said.
“The reality is that this reform and restructuring has been a major factor in improving efficiency on the waterfront - with crane rates, for example, increasing from 18.8 containers per hour in March 1998 to 27.7 containers per hour in December 2005.”
Mr Truss noted that a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2000 concluded that the cost of the levy had been more than offset by savings achieved through the stevedores’ workplace reforms.
Mr Truss said a $1.5 million surplus in levy collections would be returned to the stevedoring industry.
Mr Truss also paid tribute to the Chairman of MIFCo, Mr Tony Clark AM, and his board for their skilful management of the reform funding. As MIFCo’s task is now complete, the company will be wound up once the financial obligations are discharged.