Greater transparency needed in Freo Port sale

The latest developments in the proposed sale of Fremantle Port have been applauded by WAFarmers, following the WA Nationals’ refusal to back the plan.

With enabling legislation brought to Cabinet for the sale earlier this week, the issue has continued to gain increasing opposition, particularly surrounding the disclosure of access and pricing arrangements.

WAFarmers President Tony York said the advocacy group was frustrated that there had been lack of transparency in the proposal.

“One cannot be expected to consider the full proposal and develop an informed position when critical details have been deliberately kept from key stakeholders,” he said.

“There needs to be much greater transparency in the proposal if it has any chance of garnering the support it needs to progress.

“We believe that having the ACCC as an overarching regulator would be a step in the right direction towards achieving this, and ensuring that the interests of all stakeholders would be fairly considered.”

Mr York stated that ports, such as that in Fremantle, were of critical strategic importance to the state, but that the State Government’s determination to proceed with the sale would not benefit the agricultural sector.

“We have continually expressed our opposition to the sale of Fremantle Port on the grounds that, among other reasons, it is not big enough to benefit the agricultural sector in terms of future trade,” Mr York said.

“The ability to cope with such high demand in livestock export and import of agricultural necessities means that we need a port that can handle large ships like Capes and Mini Capes, which cannot currently be manoeuvred within Fremantle Port and would be better suited to the proposed outer harbour in Kwinana.

“Our concern is that the State Government is rushing the sale of Fremantle Port for economic reasons, and that this proposed sale could delay the building of an outer harbour, which would be beneficial to the continuing trade of live shipping and the economy at large, for between fifty and one hundred years.

“Should this happen, this would inhibit the growth and development of Western Australia across all sectors, not just agriculture.”

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].

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