The following question by the Hon Dr J Kaye MLC to the Budget Committee of the Legislative Council and the answer by the New South Wales Treasury of 22 August 2014 is about this proposed container terminal:
53. Given that there has been significant allegations of at least influence peddling and political interference under Labor surrounding proposals to the develop a container facility in
Newcastle, will Treasury be reviewing that decision?
(a) If so please provide details
(b) If not why not
Attempts by Government to dictate uneconomic enterprises contrary to market demand are examples of the kind of rent seeking activity likely to encourage influence peddling or corruption. As the container port did not proceed, there is no decision to review.
The answer conflates the proposal of Anglo Ports or its consortium with government dictation, with uneconomic enterprises, with the absence of market demand, with influence peddling and with corruption. Anglo Ports on behalf of the consortium categorically denies that its proposal or the tender under which it was conducted had any of these characteristics.
Further the second sentence in the answer – “As the container port did not proceed, there is no decision to review” – is erroneous because the Hon M Baird MP, as Treasurer, by decisions of 30 August 2012 and 26 July 2013 dictated that a container port not proceed at Newcastle. There were other decisions on the container port proposal, including by Mr Bairdand by Mr E Roozendaal. There were thus several decisions about the container port proposal capable of being reviewed.
The second sentence is misleading in allowing the interpretation that the proposal for the container terminal did not proceed because of a supervening event or because the proposal was withdrawn. Anglo Ports did not withdraw the proposal and denies there was any such supervening event.