In Question Time today Labor’s Assistant Treasurer, Danny Pearson treated the damming findings by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) report into the market power of the Labor-privatised Port of Melbourne (PoM) with contempt.
The ESC report found:
The requirement in the Port Concession Deed for rents to reflect a ‘reasonable market rent’ is not sufficient to constrain the PoM from charging rents above an efficient level and its approach has contributed to significant rental inflation.
The PoM’s exercise of its power has caused material detriment. Tenants are incurring inefficient rental costs & higher transaction costs, evidenced by examples of deferred investment, and uncertainty impacting tenants’ ability to lock in new contracts. These impacts have flowed through to consumers.
Remedial action is required to mitigate the PoM’s ability to exercise its power and impacts. This includes an enhanced, independently oversight negotiate-mediate-arbitrate framework.
If the current situation continues, these constant and uncontrolled rental increases will severely impact on Victorian consumers and drive up the price of everyday items at a time when Victorians can least afford it.
However, the Andrews Labor Government insists a ‘Voluntary Framework’ will fix the mess that its port sell-off has created.
The Andrews Labor Government’s port sell-off has led to a rip-off, and it has absolutely no interest in standing up for Victorian consumers who will bear the brunt of its inaction.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell:
“Labor’s response to skyrocketing port proceeds has been woefully inadequate.
“Victorian consumers will pay more for their everyday purchases because Daniel Andrews has failed to rein in out-of-control port costs.”