13 October 2015 - Today Adam Giles and the CLP sold away the Territory's long term strategic interests.
This is a short sighted decision that is not in the long term interests of Territorians. A new and growing Port has now been taken out of the control of Territorians and Territorian decision making.
The CLP has taken the easy way out and have put their own interest ahead of the interest of Territorians. They have chosen to take the cash and remove the Port from the control of Territorians.
By contrast Labor would have retained control of the Port and did the hard yards seeking investment in Port infrastructure through joint agreements - just as we did with the Marine Supply Base.
The CLP has no mandate to sell or lease the Port. A decision of this magnitude should always be determined by the people. With an election now just 10 months away there was time to take this route.
The CLP has not provided an open and transparent cost benefit analysis. As usual this Government is taking the view that it knows best. Territorians know you cannot trust the CLP.
This is an arrogant decision. It is exactly the same way Adam Giles and the CLP treated Territorians when they sold TIO.
This is nothing more than another one-off cash grab by the CLP government - just like the last budget and TIO.
Territory workers are also at risk here - The CLP promised to protect TIO workers before they sold it, then 43 Territorians employed at TIO lost their jobs. The CLP must ensure our Territory Port workers’ conditions and job security are unaffected and this must be their top priority.
The CLP must also now explain how it intends to protect the rights of workers at the Port.
The lease of the port represents a legal and binding contract, and if Territory Labor receives the gift of government, it is our responsibility to honour that contract.
The CLP should have taken this to an election and not left it as an inheritance and strategic impediment to a future Government.
13 October 2015 - Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Natasha Fyles, announced today that Territory Labor will introduce a Bill at the next sittings in November to defer sale or lease of our Port until after the next year’s general election.
“Adam Giles and the CLP do not have a mandate to sell our port and with the election only 10 months away the CLP must take this decision to the people,” said Natasha Fyles.
“This is a real opportunity for Adam Giles to actually listen to Territorians instead of arrogantly rushing forward with another once off cash grab. Adam Giles and the CLP can’t be trusted with the sale of our public assets. We saw this firsthand when they sold TIO - 43 locals lost their jobs.
“Territory Labor’s Bill will also provide that the sale or lease of the Port can’t proceed unless supported by a majority vote in the Legislative Assembly after the election.
“In effect this means the sale or lease of the Port will only proceed subject to a mandate from Territorians; as it stands, the CLP do not have a mandate to sell or lease our Port.”
Natasha Fyles said that our port is a key strategic asset for the future development of our economy and emerging industries.
“The Northern Territory has a number of emerging industries, many of which are in the birth of their development; that’s why it’s crucial Government maintains strategic control of our port.”
Natasha Fyles said port workers are concerned for their job security given the CLP’s track record on failing to keep jobs and conditions safe in previous public asset sales.
“Port worker job security should not be disposed of or disadvantaged as TIO workers were following the sale of TIO,” said Natasha Fyles.
“Adam Giles tabled a document in Parliament claiming port workers would be no worse off if the port was sold or leased. Despite Adam Giles’ promise it is now clear entitlements including job security and superannuation for port workers are under threat.
“Adam Giles and the CLP must have a mandate to sell our port; otherwise it’s just another cash grab from a Government that refuses to listen to Territorians.
“A Territory Government has the capacity to acquire private capital into our port without the need to sell it off, as was demonstrated by the former Territory Labor Government and the marine supply base project.”
Media contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
11 August 2015 - Natasha Fyles, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure today acknowledged comments from experts confirming that the CLP’s privatisation of the Darwin Port has is likely to impact on the hip pockets of Territorians.
Comments today from Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics Maritime expert, Peter van Duyn, with regard to the privatisation of the Darwin Port, said:
“That will make it extra hard for the sellers and bidders to determine a fair price for these attractive infrastructure assets, under what conditions a competing port may be establish and whether potential compensation should be paid to the incumbents. Any compensation payment would likely fall to the taxpayer.” – Oil and Gas Australia.
“This confirms what we already knew, that Territorians will be faced with higher cost of living as a result of the CLP and their obsession with privatizing our public assets,” said Ms Fyles.
“Mr Peter van Duyn, a maritime logistics expert with the Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, also confirmed what we’ve known all along – that the “lease” of our Darwin Port, and increases to the berth and other rates, are an apparent move to raise the sale price and sell the Port off in the future.
“Privatising Darwin Port will hike up transport costs for everyday goods, hurting the hip pocket.
“Businesses will be faced with higher transport costs, hurting their businesses and they’ll be forced to pass on costs to customers.
“Adam Giles and the arrogant CLP Government rammed through the sale of the Port without any public consultation or a mandate, just like the TIO sale.
“The CLP government doesn’t listen to the community or experts and Territorians will be the ones who literally pay the price for the CLP’s arrogance.”
Media Contact Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today again called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to give Territorians a say on their public asset privatisation plans.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government are hell-bent on selling the Territory’s public assets for a quick cash grab despite the negative effects it will have on Territorians,” Ms Lawrie said.
“TIO is in Adam Giles’ sights and if sold would leave Territorians, especially those in flood and cyclone-prone areas, vulnerable without the affordable and timely insurance coverage with TIO.
“The long term lease of Darwin Port by a private operator will lead to increases in cost of living for Territorians who would suffer the impact of rising port prices - with livestock, resources, cars and household goods at greatest risk of commercial rate imposts.
“The sale of any utilities assets under PowerWater Corporation, as shown in other jurisdictions, will lead to increased tariffs and reduced reliability.”
Ms Lawrie said that jobs and employment conditions of Territorians would be under threat in the event of privatisation.
“Once a public asset is sold all control is out of Territorians hands,” Ms Lawrie said.
“There is no way of guaranteeing that a new private owner of a Territory asset will preserve the employment conditions that were previously agreed to under public ownership.
“We’ve already seen employees of Darwin Bus Service stripped of entitlements by the private owners only months after the CLP Government sold the service.”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government needs to give Territorians a say in what should happen to their assets.
“Public assets belong to Territorians not to the CLP Government,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territory Labor has repeatedly called on Adam Giles to take his privatisation plans a referendum or to the next General Election to give Territorians a say on their public assets.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667