Where Greg Cameron Answers for the NSW Treasurer!

Filed under Letters ~ by Editor on  26 Oct 2019

721 – PORT OF NEWCASTLE CONTAINER THRESHOLD LEVEL – October 24 2019,

Tim Crakanthorp to the NSW Treasurer

1. What is the Government’s source of funds for paying NSW Ports for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: The developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle. The developer is the lessee, Port of Newcastle Investments Pty Ltd.

2. Does Government financial support become payable to the lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla when container volumes exceed a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes. For details see https://www.containerterminalpolicyinnsw.com.au/government-responses/#1568419169650-b83b67c8-34dc

3. Does the Government require the Port of Newcastle to pay a penalty, in the form of passing the cost of any payment made to NSW Ports, for container volumes exceeding a threshold at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes.

4. Is it Government policy not to develop a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle before container capacity is reached at Port Botany followed by Port Kembla?

Greg Cameron’s answer: This is the Government’s announced policy. The Government concealed its decision to require the developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle to reimburse the Government for any payment made to the lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle.

5. Do the lease arrangements for the ports of Newcastle, Botany and Kembla reflect the 2013 NSW Government’s Freight and Ports Strategy and the 2018 NSW Freight and Ports Plan – that Port Kembla should be the State’s next container terminal once Port Botany reaches capacity?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No.

6. Under the Government’s container terminal policy, is it a condition for developing a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle that the developer pays the Government’s penalty for container volumes exceeding a threshold level?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes.

7. Did the Government lease the Port of Newcastle to be able to pay NSW Ports Pty Ltd for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes.

(a) If not, what is the Government’s source of funds to be able to pay NSW Ports Pty Ltd for container volumes exceeding the threshold level at the Port of Newcastle until 2063?

Greg Cameron’s answer: None.

8. On what date did the Government inform the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of its decision to pass to the developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, any cost incurred in paying the lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: It appears that the ACCC was not informed before the Port of Newcastle was leased on May 31 2014, however, the actual date is undisclosed.

9. Is there agreement or disagreement between the Government and the ACCC about the date that the Government disclosed the Port Commitment Deeds for Port Botany and Port Kembla to the ACCC?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Disagreement.

(a) Is the date sub judice?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No.

10. Is there agreement or disagreement between the Government and the ACCC about the date that the Government disclosed the Port Commitment Deed for the Port of Newcastle to the ACCC?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Disagreement.

(a) Is the date sub judice?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No

11. Considering that there is no legislated cap on the number of containers that can travel through the Port of Newcastle, was a container volume threshold at the Port of Newcastle given as an instruction to Morgan Stanley for a conducting a scoping study into leasing Port Botany and Port Kembla?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes.  By “cap on numbers” The Hon Duncan Gay on October 17 2013 was referring to container volumes exceeding a threshold level.

(a) If no, on what date did the Government decide on a container volume threshold at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: The government admitted to a container volume threshold when it was exposed by The Newcastle Herald on July 28 2016.

12. Was a decision made in 2012 to pass to the developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle the cost of paying a lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes.

(a). If no, on what date was this decision made?

Greg Cameron’s answer: The Government gave an unauthorised and unfunded contractual commitment on May 30 2013 to pay NSW Ports for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle. One container ship a week visiting the port will cost the Government $3 billion in payments to NSW Ports by 2063 at the current average price of a container at Port  Botany of $150.

13. Is the Government’s decision to pass to the developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle the cost of paying financial support to NSW Ports for container volumes exceeding a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle, consistent with the Government’s decision that Port Kembla will be the State’s next major container terminal after Port Botany reaches capacity?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No.

14. Does the Government agree or disagree with the statement by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in its Operation Spicer Report dated August 30 2016 that "as a statutory state-owned corporation, the NPC [Newcastle Port Corporation] was obliged to comply with the NSW Government’s "Working with Government Guidelines"?

Greg Cameron’s answer: The government disagrees with the ICAC’s statement.

15. Is the Ports Assets (Authorised Transactions) Amendment Act 2013 sub judice?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No. The Act to did not authorise the government to lease the Port of Newcastle for the purpose of requiring the lessee to reimburse the Government for paying financial support to NSW Ports for container volumes exceeding the threshold level at the Port of Newcastle.

16. For the purposes of the Port Commitment Deeds for Port Botany, Port Kembla and the Port of Newcastle, does the term "container" have a confidential meaning?

Greg Cameron’s answer: Yes. The meaning is provided in the Term Sheets between the Government and Newcastle Stevedores Consortium.

17. Considering that the Government charges a penalty for container volumes above a threshold level at the Port of Newcastle, how many containers a year were shipped through the port since it was leased?

Greg Cameron’s answer: The number of containers, as defined, easily exceeds the threshold level.

18. Considering that the Port of Newcastle is not prevented from developing a container terminal, would a container terminal be an uneconomic enterprise contrary to market demand if the Government did not require the Port of Newcastle to pay a penalty for container volumes exceeding a threshold level?

Greg Cameron’s answer: No. See the statement by Anglo Ports Pty Ltd.

Answers due November 28 2019

0262383804

For more information see https://www.containerterminalpolicyinnsw.com.au/



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