Users of the Port of Melbourne are alarmed that the Ports Minister the Hon Melissa Horne failed to explain in Question Time on Wednesday, why access fees charged by the major cargo handling companies have increased from $3.60 to $80.00 per container over the past 2 years.
Following the lease of the Port of Melbourne in March 2016, the Andrews Labor Government promised that “the scope of regulated charges will be expanded to cover all trade charges for cargo and shipping movements.”
However, major cargo handling companies that operate at the Port of Melbourne have since increased their infrastructure access fee by over 2000 per cent in just two years.
Despite the Andrews Labor Government promising an “expedited enquiry” into these exorbitant fee increases in October 2018, the Ports Minister still has no answers for producers suffering under these soaring costs about who will conduct this enquiry, or when it will begin.
These massive cost increases will be passed onto local producers, exporters, retailers and consumers in Hastings.
The Port of Melbourne is currently Australia’s largest container port, however these massive cost increases risk container business, and as a result could cost local jobs, being lost to ports in Sydney and Brisbane.
Quotes attributable to Neale Burgess MP, State Member for Hastings:
“Minister Horne has been thrown straight into the deep end, promoted to Cabinet in the incredibly important Ports Portfolio after November’s election. She has shown she is incapable of answering basic questions.
The Minister must explain why in just two short years of Labor, there has been such drastic increases in fees”.
Media Contact: Neale Burgess MP, State Member for Hastings 0408 334 222