THE NSW government has released its final report on the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 and Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy.

The state government announced a review of the act and the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) in November 2021, to be undertaken by independent reviewer Ed Willett and supported by Transport for NSW.

It was released on 25 January as NSW minister for transport Jo Haylen announced the three-person advisory panel which would advise the government on development of a new freight strategy for the state.

PBLIS was introduced under the Ports and Maritime Administration Act in 2010 to support improved efficiency and reduced congestion in and around the Port Botany precinct.

The act sets the framework for ports and maritime management across NSW, including relevant functions of the Port Authority of NSW, NSW Ports, Port of Newcastle and Transport for NSW.

It also specifies the minister’s marine safety functions and contains provisions around the management of wharves and moorings, port price monitoring and the regulation of parts of the port supply chain.

Mr Willett’s 241-page final report made 37 recommendations relating to the act and PBLIS.

Transport for NSW has confirmed all 16 of the act recommendations will be adopted, and there will be further stakeholder consultation on 20 of the 21 PBLIS recommendations before a final decision is made.

Transport for NSW highlighted that PBLIS recommendation 18 – to engage NSW Ports as a service provider to administer elements of PBLIS – was not supported and “the current arrangement where Transport for NSW administers the regulation is considered appropriate at this time”.

A spokesperson for NSW Ports said the private port operator has noted the recommendations of the independent review.

“Consideration of the recommendations of the independent review is a matter for the NSW government,” they told DCN.

“We will continue to engage with government as they progress the PBLIS/PAMA recommendations and the broader review of freight transport in New South Wales.”

A spokesperson for Port Authority of NSW said the port authority contributed to the review prior to the release of the final report.

“A key recommendation will see the introduction of a statutory licensing regime to be administered by Port Authority for lines handling and bunkering services, that will enhance the safety and efficiency outcomes already seen through the introduction of the towage licensing regime currently administered by way of harbour master directions, and which will now be transferred into the Ports and Maritime Administration Act,” they said.

And Container Transport Alliance Australia welcomed the release of the final report.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said in a statement that alliance members engaged in the review were looking forward to providing opinions on the regulation of terminal interfaces at Port Botany through the PBLIS mandatory standards regime.

“CTAA is pleased that the review not only recommended the continuation of the PBLIS mandatory standards, but canvassed recommendations for their adjustment and improvement,” Mr Chambers said.

“We are also pleased that the NSW government has not accepted the suggestion that the administration of the PBLIS mandatory standards be outsourced to the private port operator of Port Botany, NSW Ports.

“It is welcomed that the government has decided that the administration of the regulatory regime should remain with government through Transport for NSW.”

Mr Chambers said CTAA also plans to engage with independent advisory panel members on their program to identify actions for government to support the improvement of freight transport in NSW.