Shadow Ports Minister Colin de Grussa has expressed dismay at the McGowan Labor Government’s dismissive response to questions raised in Parliament about the current global supply chain crisis.
Mr de Grussa said when the State Government was questioned on what action was being undertaken to minimise the economic impacts of the crisis, all the Minister for Transport could come up with was a bizarre reference to increasing opportunities for training truck drivers.
“The Minister also rolled out the same old list of Labor’s pet projects such as Westport and took on the Premier’s tactics of deflecting and ignoring the real issue,” Mr de Grussa said.
“This is worrying, as it clearly proves the Minister has no clue in differentiating between the current global shipping crisis and building internal supply chain capacity.
“If the Minister was across her portfolio, she would understand the issues shipping companies have had in securing access to ships and containers, and the delays this has caused on imported goods entering Australia.
“The Minister should understand that Australian ports such as Fremantle are being bypassed in preference to more lucrative shipping markets, which will have a substantial impact on the Western Australian economy if it continues.”
Mr de Grussa said the Minister’s reaction to questions around the need to avoid further industrial action at Fremantle Port, especially in the context of the global shipping issues, was equally concerning.
“All the Minister could come up with was the standard story about the State Government encouraging port workers to negotiate in good faith to avoid further disruptions.
“If you looked up in the dictionary the definition of ‘meaningless and innocuous motherhood statement so as not to offend the union movement’, the Minister’s response is what you would find.
“As we saw with the damaging 14 weeks of industrial action at Fremantle Port earlier this year, the Labor Government is more focussed on placating internal union politics than providing any form of proactive leadership.
“That dispute saw vital farm machinery and other imports parked on the wharf for week or diverted to other ports – it was only after being called out by the Opposition that the McGowan Labor Government intervened in the union-led dispute.
“Time will tell if the Labor Government’s inaction and reticence for proactive engagement in the industrial relations space will result in further damaging disputes at Fremantle Port.”