THE Australian Federal Court has ordered New South Wales Ports and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into mediation.

This relates to ACCC’s case regarding port privatisations, with Port of Newcastle having to pay fees to the government for 50 years to the government should it choose to build and operate a container terminal in the Hunter.

Justice Jagot of the Federal Court in Sydney ordered the parties to agree a mediator by no later than 31 January 2020 and parties to attend a conference with the mediator by no later than 3 April 2020.

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The court orders can be viewed here.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said a year ago they were alleging the privatisation agreements were “anti-competitive and illegal”.

But a spokesperson for NSW Ports said at the time they firmly believed “that the agreements (including provisions of the 2013 Port Commitment Deeds) signed with the NSW Government, to lease its assets at Port Botany and Port Kembla, operate in the best interests of all stakeholders, the economy and people of NSW”.

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