Posted on 01. May, 2012 in News

Victoria’s farmers will be among those hardest hit by the Baillieu Government’s new Port Licence Fee tax, Shadow Minister for Ports, Major Projects and Infrastructure Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas said the new Baillieu Government tax would raise more than $1 billion over the next decade, but Ports Minister Denis Napthine refused to ensure money raised from the tax would fund port infrastructure upgrades.

“Premier Ted Baillieu’s specious claim that ‘industry supports’ his big new tax increasing port fees by 50 per cent has been categorically refuted by calls from Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the shipping industry challenging the legality of the Port Licence Fee tax,” Mr Pallas said.

“There is a big risk this tax will be passed on to everyone from the local farmer, small business, manufacturing, importers and exporters.

“Mr Napthine’s spin that regional producers are set to be major beneficiaries, is highly doubtful.

“Farmers are already struggling to export their goods with the high Australian dollar and the Baillieu-Ryan Government will hit them with the new tax.”

Mr Napthine told the Victorian Parliament when introducing this new port tax:

“Revenue raised by the Port Licence Fee will make a significant commitment to deliver on [the Government’s] vision.”

“This new tax will raise $1 billion over the next decade, yet Mr Napthine has refused to apply any of this revenue to Webb Dock port or associated transport infrastructure,” Mr Pallas said.

“It would appear that whatever this Government’s so-called ‘vision’ amounts to, it does not include port users, or users of the M1/West Gate Freeway, or residents of Melbourne’s west and Port Melbourne.

“Labor committed to building off-ramps as part of our Truck Action Plan and alternative routes such as the second river crossing to the Port of Melbourne.

“It appears that the Baillieu Government is content building on-ramps onto the West Gate Bridge and Monash Freeway and consigning 200,000 daily users to traffic chaos without relief.

“The Baillieu Government seems quite prepared to impose higher and higher costs on industry, and ultimately every consumer, but are unprepared to commit to the infrastructure that will ensure that our ports and road networks operate efficiently and without added congestion.


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