The Nationals WA today confirmed their opposition to the sale of the Fremantle Port.
Member for Wagin Terry Waldron MLA said the Parliamentary National Party team stated their position at a press conference at Parliament House earlier today.
“The Parliamentary National Party team strongly opposes the sale of Fremantle Port and will not support any legislation to enable the sale of this port,” Mr Waldron said.
Mr Waldron said Fremantle Port was an important major asset for Western Australians.
“It plays an integral role in the workings of regional WA, the State economy, agricultural industry and import and export markets.”
He said the decision to oppose the sale came amid a number of concerns raised by The Nationals WA relating to the sale of the port that were ignored by the State Government.
“Enabling legislation was brought to Cabinet for the sale of the Fremantle Port, earlier this week,” Mr Waldron said.
“The Nationals stepped out of that Cabinet decision and did not support the process of that legislation through Cabinet.”
Mr Waldron agreed with Leader of the Nationals Terry Redman MLA, who said the proposed legislation lacked transparency and would enable the Treasurer to enter negotiations with potential buyers without disclosing vital details of the sale, such as access and pricing for Fremantle Port users.
“The fact that legislation has been brought into Parliament without addressing these concerns is a breach of good process in our view,” Mr Redman said.
“If we were to support this legislation, we would have no visibility over the contractual arrangements that are so critical when making the sale of a major piece of infrastructure.”
Mr Redman labelled the State Government’s process “fundamentally flawed” and said The Nationals WA could not see a pathway to support the sale of the Fremantle Port.
“For key stakeholders and users of the Fremantle Port, The Nationals WA lay party membership, and for ourselves as Members of Parliament, that lack of transparency and detail is just too high a hurdle to get over.”
Mr Redman said The Nationals opposition to the Bill should not come as a surprise to the Liberal Party.
Mr Waldron said: “Over recent weeks, we’ve expressed our concerns regarding the level of detail the State Government has provided us regarding the sale of the Fremantle Port.”
“As of today, there is still no detail publically available for us or key stakeholders to consider.”
The Nationals WA have sought feedback from the community regarding the Fremantle Port over the past week.
The vast majority of feedback received expressed hesitation about the sale, with community concerns reflecting those of The Nationals WA, particularly with regards to the uncertainty of the terms of the sale; the sale of a monopoly asset; access and user arrangements including access for live export; and the strategic timing of a sale.