Gladstone and Townsville Ports Must Stay in Public Hands

The Maritime Union of Australia has signalled it will campaign against the privatization of the ports of Gladstone and Townsville, following indications from the Queensland State Government that the ports may be sold off.

MUA Queensland Branch Acting Secretary Trevor Munday said today that selling the ports was not in the public interest.

“Surely any test when considering a sale has to be whether then public interest test is met. Any other consideration is just ideology gone mad.”

“Based on the experience of the Port of Brisbane, we have real concerns regarding any proposed 99 year leases for other Queensland ports.”

 “We will see cost shifting by port operators that will impact on potentially all Queenslanders.”

“The ultimate result will be that with exports, businesses which export commodities will pay more.  Perhaps more alarmingly, in relation to imports then consumers - pretty much all of us - will ultimately pay more.”

Mr Munday said that some in the shipping sector had also raised concerns about eastern seaboard port ownership, “so it’s not just the union belling the cat on some of the alarming implications of these possible sales.”

“The Maritime Union believes that the public interest test has not been met with regards to Gladstone and Townsville and the Queensland Government has failed to provide sufficient rationale for why these sales need to happen.”

“Privatisation without plausible explanation arguably caused the demise of the last state government.  Campbell Newman, despite his big majority, needs to learn from this recent history lest he find history repeats itself once again.”

“The union is determined to fight these changes and we are confident that community sentiment in North Queensland is aligned with our concerns.”