In Parliament, I was proud to support a private members bill by my independent colleague Greg Piper Member for Lake Macquarie, to extinguish the levy. The bill passed last week and will open the Port of Newcastle to containers, removing thousands of trucks off Sydney’s already congested road network.
When the Baird Government privatised New South Wales ports, deals were done to force the Port of Newcastle to pay a levy on containers so that ports Kembla and Botany would sell for more, adding huge costs to importing or exporting anything from the region other than coal. It is cheaper for Hunter and New England exporters to load and send trucks to Sydney or Brisbane.
As Chair of the inquiry into the sustainability of energy supply and resources, I learnt about how this levy is stymying economic diversification from coal in the Hunter, which could otherwise become a world renewable energy export hub.