Port of Melbourne lease – Opposition, Greens force inquiry

The Victorian State Opposition, supported by the Greens, will launch an inquiry into the Government’s planned sale of the Port of Melbourne lease.

As AAP reports, the inquiry will investigate the ramifications of turning the existing public monopoly into a private monopoly, as well as other factors such as the length of lease and the effect the move would have on a possible second port for Melbourne.

The inquiry was supported by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group).

“This is very long-term legislation that could impose significant changes and costs on to Victorian industry. We need to make sure the deal is in the best long-term interests of the economy and businesses that use the Port,” Ai Group’s Victorian Director, Tim Piper said in a statement.

“The Review would hopefully help Victoria to achieve a very good price for the long-term lease of the Port while ensuring port users are not charged excessive pricing.”

According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the sale of the lease could be worth in excess of $6b and would allow the Government to invest $200 million in the state’s agricultural infrastructure and supply chains.

"If those that are standing in the way, if they'll just move and let us get on and deliver this then we'll be able to provide the funding for this fund and be able to do even more," Andrews told reporters.

"Before the election, we promised that a Labor government would lease the Port of Melbourne. We will deliver on that promise, to ensure our farmers and regional communities get the support they need."

 Image: Port of Melbourne