THE State Government has today introduced an enabling legislation to State Parliament for the long-term lease of Fremantle Port to the private sector.
Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan said the Fremantle Port Assets (Disposal) Bill 2016 would provide the legal framework for the Government’s plan to move Fremantle Port to the private sector through a long-term lease for a period of up to 99 years.
Mr Barnett said the legislation was another key milestone in the Government’s plan to reduce debt and fund future infrastructure.
“The long-term lease of Fremantle Port will be a cornerstone of the Government’s fiscal management plan, aimed at reducing Government debt and unlocking the potential for private sector capital investment to develop economic infrastructure to support and grow the Western Australian economy,” he said.
“Together with the proceeds of other transactions under the Government’s asset sales program, the Fremantle Port divestment is an important enabler of the funding future infrastructure initiative announced by the Treasurer when he delivered the 2016-17 State Budget last week.”
Dr Nahan said without the long-term lease of Fremantle Port, the Government would not be able to invest in important infrastructure to allow the movement of livestock facilities from the Inner Harbour to the Outer Harbour.
The access and pricing regime – key elements which are now set out in the legislation – includes a number of protections designed to ensure continued fair access to relevant port facilities and services and to mitigate the risk of potential abuse of market power and unfair pricing.
The Economic Regulation Authority will be the regulator of the access and pricing regime.
Dr Nahan said the legislation also ensured the Government would retain oversight of any new Port Lessee through a restructured Fremantle Port Authority (FPA).
“The Harbour Master function will be maintained by the FPA, allowing effective oversight over marine safety and access for users to the waterways. The Government will also be responsible for approving the Port Lessee’s master plan for development and have an ongoing supervisory role for any future development proposals,” he said.