02/05/2014 - 15:21

Nalder orders ports review

02/05/2014 - 15:21

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Recently-appointed transport minister Dean Nalder has flagged the possibility of delaying the amalgamation of regional port authorities, just two months before the merged authorities were due to start operating.

Nalder orders ports review

Recently-appointed transport minister Dean Nalder has flagged the possibility of delaying the amalgamation of regional port authorities, just two months before the merged authorities were due to start operating.

The minister said the state government was committed to the planned ports reform.

However, he has commissioned a review to determine if the delayed passage of relevant legislation would impede the amalgamation process.

“In light of the delay, I want to have absolute confidence that everyone is ready,” he said. “If required, implementation may be staged.”

Mr Nalder said the Ports Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was expected to pass last December, giving port authorities a six-month transition period before commencing on July 1 this year.

However, the bill now is expected to pass “in coming weeks”, according to the minister’s statement.

The bill consolidates seven of WA’s eight port authorities into four new regional ports authorities. The Fremantle Ports authority is unaffected.

“This review will provide certainty that the late passage of the Bill will not impede the amalgamation process and shows the state government’s commitment to the ports governance reforms and the smooth transition of amalgamations,” Mr Nalder said.

The review will be conducted by an independent panel, facilitated by the Department of Finance. The members of the panel were not disclosed.

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said the review may be a sign of larger issues.

“I’m of the view that they never properly looked at the amalgamation of the southern ports,” Mr Travers said.

“I suspect the review will actually revisit the merger of Albany, Bunbury and Esperance.”

Mr Travers observed that the government never seemed to show any urgency with getting the bill passed.

In November last year, former transport minister Troy Buswell named four chairs-elect to guide the establishment of the new regional entities.

“The chairs-elect have two decades’ experience in running ports and will play a key role in steering the transition to more efficient regional ports,” Mr Buswell said at the time.

The chairs-elect of the four new regional port authorities are:

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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