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Australia's major export ports.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

Australia’s Major Export Ports

A62/2005 18th May 2005

It is now time for the Australian Government to extend AusLink to include the effective planning and regulation of Australia’s major export ports, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

Mr Anderson was speaking at the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics’ 2005 transport colloquium.

“There are a number of ports where important decisions about infrastructure spending have taken far too long,” Mr Anderson said.

“At Dalrymple Bay, Queensland’s regulatory processes took over a year and a half. In Sydney, the approval process for expanding Port Botany is dragging on, while exporters suffer. The Sydney Ports Corporation has recognised the need to expand port capacity, only to see the issue become bogged down in inquiries and debate over how much capacity is actually needed.

“In contrast, this Government has a history of success when it comes to Australia’s ports. Our reforms to workplace relations on the waterfront have generated a massive increase in productivity.

“I believe it is now time for the Government to build on the success of our waterfront reforms and extend AusLink to include the effective planning and regulation of Australia’s major export ports.

“In AusLink, we made it clear that Australia needs to plan its major transport links from one end of the supply chain to the other. We cannot stop at the port gates any longer.

“We need to involve the port owners, users and operators in the joint planning that will underpin the future development of our transport system, so all the investments along the supply chain - road, rail, intermodal facilities and ports - take place when they are needed.

“We also need to have a single, Australian Government regulator with transparent processes and tight deadlines, because of the ports’ critical importance to our national future.

“The Australian Government has always had the power to make laws for our export ports, under the trade and commerce power in the constitution. We have not needed to use it until now, but I believe that we now have to take action in the national interest,” Mr Anderson said.

Media contact: Bill McKinley 02 6277 7680 Paul Chamberlin 0419 233 989