Statement from the NSW Minerals Council on the revocation of the declaration of the channel services at the Port of Newcastle

September 25, 2019

The NSW Minerals Council is extremely disappointed by the Treasurer's decision to allow the revocation of the declaration of the channel services at the Port of Newcastle to go ahead. The National Competition Council's views were flawed and should not have been relied upon by the Treasurer.

The Port of Newcastle has monopoly power and the steep increases in Port charges since it was privatised are a reflection of this. The ACCC stated the revocation would make the Port of Newcastle an "unregulated monopolist" and that "It would be reasonable to expect that, without regulation, further prices increases at the Port would follow and this would be a bad outcome for users and the economy, particularly given the history here."

The revocation of the declaration of channel services is also at odds with the experienced Queensland Competition Authority in relation to their analysis of declarations of monopoly export infrastructure.

The Treasurer's decision removes the ability of the ACCC act as an independent arbitrator of any access dispute between the Port and coal exporters, thereby removing an important constraint on the Port's monopoly pricing.  This creates uncertainty for investment in the Hunter with potential negative impacts on jobs and the economy.

ENDS
Contact: Hugo Robinson | hrobinson@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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