Union Welcomes NSW Ports Budget

But cautions on need to invest in coastal shipping

The NSW Government's announcement of  a major upgrading of the  capacity of port infrastructure, yesterday, is a vital element in the development of the NSW Freight Strategy, the Maritime Union of  Australia said.

While welcoming the Budget's allocation of $346 million for port projects - including $168.7 million towards the construction of a third container terminal at Port Botany - the MUA's National Secretary Paddy Crumlin cautioned that the future planning also needed to address coastal shipping.

"Any expansion needs to he holistic. If you attend to the land infrastructure and don't give similar attention to the role of shipping it's like building a formula one track and racing old Holdens on it.

NSW's freight and logistics planning must include a  role for costal shipping consistent with the Federal Government's current commitment to revitalise Australian shipping", said Crumlin.

Highlights of the Budget spend include:

• $10.4 million for the construction of a new passenger cruise  terminal at White Bay in Sydney Harbour to replace the existing East Darling  Harbour terminal
• $10 million for the first stage of a new bulk goods berth at Port Kembla Outer Harbour and $10 million for a new tug fleet base at Port Kembla.

Paddy Crumlin said that in developing the freight strategy NSW would  need  investment certainty in the long term  which will impact positively on workforce stability and security of employment, which will underpin better stevedoring safety and port productivity.

"We also need better governance - transparency of port and service  provider performance", Crumlin said.