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NSW Ports welcomes Federal Court decision on ACCC appeal

NSW Ports has welcomed the full Federal Court’s decision to dismiss the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) appeal over the State’s ports privatisation process, describing it as a win for the people and businesses of New South Wales.

The decision upholds the 2021 judgment of Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot that the Port Commitment Deeds between the State and NSW Ports do not have any anti-competitive or illegal purpose or effect and that “mere speculative hopes” of a container terminal at Port of Newcastle were “far-fetched and fanciful”.

NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the full Federal Court’s dismissal of the ACCC’s claims was a win for economic certainty and prosperity across the State, to the benefit of consumers, exporters and importers.

“Maintaining the right ports and freight strategy to cater for NSW’s growing trade needs is crucial to the State’s economic future,” she said.

“Port Botany and Port Kembla are key economic drivers for NSW and the nation, contributing more than $13 billion a year to the State’s economy and supporting 65,000 jobs.”

The court’s decision aligns with the NSW Government’s long-term container port strategy that using capacity at Port Botany first, followed by a new container terminal at Port Kembla, best supports the State’s trade needs.

This strategy delivers the most effective use of public infrastructure, while catering for population and economic growth in Sydney’s west and south-west.

Locating container ports near major population centres maximises supply chain efficiencies and minimises freight travel, with 80 per cent of containers arriving in NSW travelling less than 40 kilometres from Port Botany to reach customers.

Developing a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, rather than using available container capacity at Port Botany, which is less than half full, would increase supply chain costs for Australian exporters, importers and consumers.

It would also add up to 5400 truck movements a day to Newcastle’s roads and the M1 Pacific Motorway, worsening congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

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