Nationals and Labor should block port amalgamation legislation

The Maritime Union of Australia has called on the National Party and the Labor Party to protect regional jobs by using their numbers in State Parliament to block the Ports Legislation Amendment Bill.

The legislation was originally put to State Parliament by former Transport Minister Troy Buswell. It is set down for debate this week. If passed, the Bill will see the Esperance, Albany and Bunbury Port Authorities merged to become the Southern Port Authority.

MUA State Secretary Christy Cain said the Esperance and Albany communities had the most to lose.

“The amalgamation of regional ports will lead to job losses in towns like Esperance and Albany, as management jobs end up in Perth and Bunbury, and local suppliers don’t get the opportunity to supply port operations,” Mr Cain said.

“Amalgamation could also be the first step to the privatisation of the Esperance and Albany Port Authorities, as the State Government strips local jobs in an effort to cut costs and make the ports more attractive for sale.

“Communities have been built around the ports in Esperance and Albany over many years and the business of those ports is central to the economic and social fabric of those towns.

“If the National Party and Labor Party really care about regional communities and jobs in Esperance and Albany, they will use their numbers to block Troy Buswell’s ill-considered Ports Legislation Amendment Bill.”