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Trans-Tasman shipping report proves failure of Australian waterfront reform



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43.

JOHN SHARP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GILMORE

MEDIA RELEASE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SHIPPING AND WATERFRONT REFORM

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Tel 0 6 2 7 7 4213, Fax 0 6 2 7 7 2 1 2 4

TRANS-TASMAN SHIPPING REPORT PROVES FAILURE OF AUSTRALIAN WATERFRONT REFORM

The report Monitoring of Trans-Tasman Shipping (Bureau of Transport and Communication Economics, Australia and Ministry of Transport, New Zealand, April 1992) has proved the fundamental failure of Australia's waterfront reform program.

During the review period, when both countries were undertaking their reform programs, New Zealand stevedoring rates fell by A$132 per TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), from A$298 to A$166. Australia's rates fell by a paltry A$4, from A$282 to A$278. This means that New Zealand has an A$112 per TEU advantage in stevedoring costs.

Australia's stevedoring costs were 5.4% below those of New Zealand in 1988/89, but were 67% above them by June 1991.

It is clear that New Zealand has out-performed Australia and that the Australian Labor Government has failed to achieve the purpose of reform, i.e. to reduce costs.

The example of the New Zealand reforms has not been followed in Australia. Three years later, Australia is still struggling with a waterside surplus labour problem that is no better or no closer to structural change than it was at the outset of the reform process. New Zealand's was solved in one year.

The report underlines the disgraceful failure of the Australian Government's waterfront reform program to deliver the necessary cost reductions to exporters and importers. This failure is increasing the costs of production for exporters, and making Australian products non-competitive against imports and non-competitive in international markets. It is

obviously inhibiting the integrated economic development of the two countries.

It is essential that the Australian Government stops bragging about container loading rates and tackles the reasons that make Australia's waterfront costs so exorbitantly higher than New Zealand's.

Ends............WR38/92 Contact: John Wallis

29-5-92 A/H 06 295 6796

Note: Comparative tables are attached.

COMMONWEALTH P A R L IA M E N T A R Y LIBRARY MICAH

TRANS-TASMAN STEVEDORING COSTS

Comparative stevedoring costs, A$ per TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit)

1988/89 1989/90 1990/91

Australia 282 301 294 +4%

New Zealand 298 228 182 -39%

Difference Aust/New Zealand -5.4% +32% +58.5%

In the final six months period of 1990/91, the differential was

Australia 278 -1.4%

New Zealand 166 -44%

+67%

New Zealand has an A$112 per TEU advantage in stevedoring costs.