THE New South Wales government has today (12 November) commenced a comprehensive review of the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 and the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS).

Ed Willett, who will lead the review. Image: TfNSW

The aim of the review is to ensure the regulatory approach remains fit for purpose and considers the expected future ports and maritime environment.

In a statement, Transport for New South Wales said the state’s three trading ports have grown to contribute more than $6 billion to the state’s economy every year.

The government agency said examining the regulatory framework that underpins the effective operation of the ports is important to ensure the state continues to be internationally competitive.

Ed Willett has been tapped to conduct the independent review.

“This review will look at how we can improve efficiency and operations at our ports and I will make recommendations to the Government on any changes to the Act or PBLIS,” he said.

Mr Willett is coming to the role after more than six years as associate commissioner of the Papua New Guinea Independent Consumer and Competition Commission. He has previously been a member of the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and a commissioner at the ACCC, among other significant roles.

The first step of the review will be to release a discussion paper in the coming months. This will occur before a period of stakeholder engagement, which is to begin in early 2022.

Stevedore charges will not be included in the scope of this review. In the terms of reference for the review, it state that these charges are a national economic issue and therefore in the purview of the federal government.

Additionally, the terms of reference for the review states: “The parts of the act relating to the long-term lease arrangements at the ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle will only be considered within the context of those lease arrangements.”