Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, raised an adjournment matter with the Treasurer of Victoria, The Hon. Tim Pallas in Parliament this week.
Mr Ramsay questioned why DP World Australia, the new owners of the Port of Melbourne, was able to raise their infrastructure surcharge by more than 50 per cent.
“These increases in container costs are obviously having a significant impact on the reduction in trade in containers at the Melbourne port,” said Mr Ramsay.
Riordan Grain Services has indicated that as an industry, they need to know will DP World Australia continue to raise charges every eight months, as they have seen, these costs have already seen $742,000 in 12 months.
“There is a significant increase in costs associated with the port of Melbourne since the sale of the lease.
DP World Australia has seen fit to increase charges by nearly 70 per cent,” said Mr Ramsay.
Following devastating frosts this year, with some crops being completely wiped out, the Government should ensure that there is a limit on the charge increase.
“The cost to exporters will flow down to the price they are prepared to pay to the grain grower. Victoria’s have already suffered significant frost damage and their losses are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The increase in charges has increased from $32.50 to $49.20 per container in eight months the access to the port is more expensive than ever.
“If we work on the basis that the grain trade uses around 120,000 containers, it will be an additional $10.464 million to DP World Australia, which will come at a cost to the exporter and flow down to the grain growers.”
Mr Ramsay stressed that Victorians need to know if DP World Australia will continue to increase charges every eight months.
“As a matter of urgency, the Treasurer needs to seek clarification with DP World Australia as to why there have been significant increases in port charges,” Mr Ramsay said.