The Maritime Union of Australia has sounded the alarm bell on redundancies at the Port of Darwin – the first step in a long term Country Liberal Party plan to sell a vital piece of Territory infrastructure to the private sector.
The Union is taking Darwin Port Corporation to task over making electrician and mechanical jobs redundant with little consultation and contrary to the spirit of the Agreement with their workforce.
There is an ongoing NT Government review into the operations of the port and despite guarantees that contractors won’t be used to fill permanent positions, these redundancies are underway.
The MUA’s NT Secretary, Thomas Mayor, said these plans showed the Government was planning to streamline services and sell-off the port.
“These redundancies are the first step in a plan to hand over a monopoly asset – the Port of Darwin – to the private sector,” Mr Mayor said.
“The Country Liberals are fattening the goose that lays the golden egg and Territorians will have little to show for it.
“People already distrust privatisation, but it’s even more dangerous when you privatise a monopoly. It’s a license to sack workers and gouge the community.
“The Country Liberals have a secret privatisation plan. They have already decided to sell out Territorians, not just with power and water, but the Port infrastructure as well.
“Privatising this port will not reduce costs for shipping cargo. It will simply put money in the pockets of Country Liberal mates.”
The MUA also said that the Port of Darwin should not be for sale because of its strategic importance to Australia for defence and trade.
“When Territorians are next cut off from the rest of Australia due to floods wiping out the Stuart Highway, or due to cyclone, do they want to be held to ransom by a private enterprise controlling our port?” Mr Mayor said.
“We want our Government to be able to ensure the cheap and efficient delivery of aid, and the viability of a port that is a key to servicing the Territory’s growth.”