25 June 2015
Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) – Like many of my colleagues I have been consulting with users of the Melbourne container port. A very important part of the port is the containerised grain trade particularly for high-value crops like lentils chickpeas and fava beans as well as for the export of cereals in containers. In countries that cannot receive bulk supplies containers being off-loaded is a very important part of that trade. However the trade is price sensitive and increased charges will put it at risk.
As part of our consultation many of my colleagues have talked to people in the container shipping industry. One of the major container shippers is the Wimmera Container Line. The company is very concerned about price increases at the port and the member for Lowan has had particular discussions with the company. Regarding the increased port charges a representative of the company wrote:
That considered will inevitably lead to job losses in the Wimmera and surrounding regions but the flow-on effect will also be job losses in the greater supply chain.
I put on the record the concerns of the container grain trade in Victoria that the sale of the port of Melbourne and fee increases will put that trade at risk and cost jobs in the country into the future. I commend the member for Lowan for the work she is doing with the industry to bring this to the floor of the Parliament.