Port Kembla sale unlocks vital funds: Baird

The state government is pushing ahead with the lease of Port Kembla’s port after enabling legislation went through Parliament on Wednesday night.
Nanjing Night Net

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird said yesterday the government had already received international interest in the leasing of Port Kembla and Port Botany – which could either be done together or separately – and that the bidding process was expected to finish in the first half of next year.

The legislation allowing Port Kembla and Port Botany to be leased for 99 years passed through Parliament with the help of the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Christian Democrats.

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“The long-term lease of these ports will unlock vital funds which will mean more money for the backlog of critical road, school and hospital projects across NSW,” Mr Baird said.

Proceeds would be invested in the NSW government’s infrastructure fund, Restart NSW, with 30 per cent of funds reserved for projects in regional areas.

Mr Baird said the government was still committed to spending $100 million of the proceeds on new infrastructure projects in the Illawarra.

He also said that a private leaseholder would have greater access to funds to continue the development and growth of the ports.

The government would retain regulatory oversight of matters like price monitoring, Mr Baird said, and the Port Kembla Port Corporation would continue its maritime role and retain its security and emergency response duties.

“The government has also ensured that the ports legislation provides protection of employee conditions and entitlements.”

He said that meant employees transferring to the new lessee would receive several benefits, such as a two-year employment guarantee for enterprise agreement employees, a transfer of up to 30 weeks pay and protection of super arrangements.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.