The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has welcomed the Parliament of Victoria’s Report on the Proposed Lease of the Port of Melbourne (PoM).
ADIC Chair, Simone Jolliffe said the dairy industry was pleased to see recommendations of the Parliamentary report address a number of concerns around the proposed lease.
“The report’s recommendations reflect industry concerns regarding the impact of the lease on leaseholders," she said.
"In particular, the recommendation to amend legislation that will lock in a role for the Essential Service Commission to manage complaints around Port pricing is a positive acknowledgment of industry advice.
“However, key issues including safeguards for leaseholders are not addressed.
"There needs to be greater oversight and safeguards on fees and charges for port users.
"Further, the issue of compensation for leaseholders, the amount of money being allocated to rural and regional Victoria, the timing and process for development of a second port, and the investment in the freight infrastructure servicing the port must also be considered.”
With more than 85 per cent of Australia’s total dairy exports sent via the PoM, the dairy industry is the fifth largest user of the Port.
The PoM is not only the point of export for Victorian dairy producers, but also for the dairy industry located in Tasmania and parts of South Australia and New South Wales.
The ADIC has previously expressed concern at rents potentially doubling by 2023, which would significantly impact dairy's competitiveness globally.
The pricing, ongoing cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the PoM will continue to play a pivotal role in the global competitiveness of Australian dairy.
“In conjunction with the Victorian Farmers’ Federation, the ADIC will continue to engage with the Victorian Government to ensure the lease agreement encourages competition and efficiency,” Mrs Jolliffe said.
The ADIC urged the Victorian Government to adopt key recommendations of the Parliamentary report, and called for further consultation with industry regarding appropriate safeguards and compensation.