NEW South Wales Upper House MP, Taylor Martin, has argued Port Botany and Port Kembla remain the right ports to handle container growth, ahead of a proposed box port at Newcastle.
The matter has come up for discussion this week, with Treasurer Dominic Perrottet grilled about fees applied to containers at a prospective Newcastle terminal that would in essence make it uncompetitive.
But speaking to the Public Works Committee, Mr Martin, who grew up on the Central Coast, said a Newcastle box port could bring with it many issues.
“A significant sum of money would need to be spent upgrading road and rail to support the new container operations at the Port of Newcastle and the Port of Newcastle would obviously be looking to the government to finance that public infrastructure,” Mr Martin said.
He argued a Newcastle terminal would be built at the expense of the Sydney Gateway, the Port Botany rail line duplication, the Maldon to Dombarton rail line upgrade and other infrastructure projects.
“I am all for projects that create jobs, especially in the Hunter, but when those jobs come at the expense of existing jobs in other regional areas like the Illawarra or even western Sydney then the proposal should go back to the drawing board—especially when they require the large public spend that would be needed in this case,” he said.
He said it was important to considering what impact a container port at Newcastle would mean to local communities across the Hunter.
“For starters it would mean that somewhere between 2700 and 4000 additional vehicle movements per day, and these are not small vehicles—these are B-doubles,” he said.
“At a minimum, an additional 2,700 B-doubles all travelling along Industrial Drive in Mayfield. That is an extra B-double every 30 seconds in addition to existing traffic.”
Mr Martin said 90% of container freight passing through Port Botany remained within 60km of the port that it departs from.
“For that reason, Port Botany is the most obvious location for the government to concentrate its investment in infrastructure to support container operations, with Port Kembla providing for any overflow due to its proximity to where the demand is,” he said.