The Nationals WA today confirmed their opposition to the sale of the Fremantle Port.
Leader of The Nationals WA Terry Redman MLA and the Parliamentary National Party team stated their position at Parliament House earlier today.
“The Fremantle Port is a major strategic asset for the people of Western Australia. It plays an important role in our State’s economy, our agricultural communities and our growing import and export markets.”
The decision to oppose the sale comes amid a number of concerns raised by The Nationals WA relating to the sale of the Port were ignored by the State Government.
“On Monday, enabling legislation was brought to Cabinet for the sale of the Fremantle Port,” Mr Redman said.
“The Nationals stepped out of that Cabinet decision and we did not support the process of that legislation through Cabinet.”
Mr Redman 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.
“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,” Mr Redman said.
“As of today, there is still no detail in the public realm available for us or key stakeholders to consider.”
Mr Redman said The Nationals WA had sought feedback from the community regarding the Fremantle Port over the past week.
“The vast majority of feedback we have received has expressed hesitance around the sale, with community concerns echoing our own, particularly around 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.”