The NSW Government's decision to privatise Port Kembla is a short-sighted policy act of economic negligence and ignorance that will rob future generations of crucial income streams, MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said today.
After last year announcing a long-term lease of Port Botany, the Government has today followed up by announcing its intention for a similar long term lease of Port Kembla.
In his budget speech, Treasurer Mike Baird suggested this would "add substantial value to the Port Botany transaction."
Mr Crumlin said this indicated the Government was looking to bundle the two ports into the one deal, stifling competition and creating a market behemoth.
"Bundling these two ports together and then flogging them off to one operator is a license gouge the national economy and print money," Mr Crumlin said.
"Port Kembla and Port Botany are critical to the national interest. Unfortunately, that national interest seems to be the last thing on Treasurer Mike Baird's mind.
"We have seen what happens when monopoly transport hubs are privatised. You can't enter Sydney Airport without being charged.
"Australia is entering a multi-decade resources boom and the Australian people stand to earn substantial dividends from their investment in ports such as Port Botany and Port Kembla.
"Instead of reaping that benefit, Mike Baird is submitting the people of NSW to the macro-economic equivalent of pay day lending.
"If the NSW Government thinks it can bribe the people of the Illawarra through $100 million in infrastructure it should think again.
"The people of the Illawarra deserve that infrastructure anyway and the rest of the nation should not have to hock off a port to deliver it."