This week’s release of the ACCC’s annual container stevedoring monitoring report represents the latest regulatory snapshot on issues involving access to port terminals. In this latest report, the ACCC continues to have the stevedores’ infrastructure levy charges on its radar.
It’s a topic that generates much debate in Australia’s ports and freight industries. And the debate is not likely to abate any time soon. But can it be resolved? Australia’s two largest stevedores, DP World and Patrick have either introduced or announced further increases in ‘infrastructure charges’ at their container terminals this year, with DP World announcing further increases to its charges at its Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane terminals, from 1 January 2018. While stevedores have a legitimate right to recover costs on the back of investments in land-side operations, the frequency and magnitude of recent increases call into question the justification of these charges and their impact on building more efficient supply chains.
The almost weekly major energy policy announcements by State and Commonwealth Governments in recent times brings to mind the old cliche of never letting a good (energy) crisis go to waste. Sadly, the lack of national direction and various recent uncoordinated Government policy announcements to address short term political problems could be laying the groundwork for future crises regarding the security and reliability of Australia’s electricity and gas supplies.
In recent months, Australia’s two major stevedores have announced increased fees for truck and rail operators accessing major city container port terminals. Such charges have become a regular feature in the Australian stevedoring landscape, much to the ire of land-side operators and other stakeholders. Where state governments have previously failed to show leadership to encourage coordinated, collaborative solutions, port managers are increasingly filling this void. We briefly examine these charges and the public debate surrounding them.
On 11 April 2017, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) published its draft rule determination in response to a rule change request submitted by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to extend the regulatory investment test (RIT) to replacement capital expenditure (repex) and increase transparency of investment planning information.
The South Australian state wide power outage in September has refocussed the light on clean energy policy and the safety and security of our power system. State and Federal Governments have subsequently taken positive steps to set green goals while encouraging new investment opportunities.
At the beginning of 2016, headline figures suggested our economy was growing at a steady pace. Yet the income and wellbeing of Australians was far from rosy – we were in an income recession as deep as the one we experienced in the early 1990s recession. Almost twelve months on, the latest figures show that the Australian economy contracted in the September quarter whilst at the same time national income grew. This article examines what happened to income in the most recent quarter and why output growth does not necessarily add up to better wellbeing for Australians.
This policy update provides a brief and general review of the most recent policies, strategies and initiatives announced in the lead up to the Federal election.
A central role for Government is to set the policy framework for its constituents. This is not an easy task, especially if we take into account the constrained timelines typically associated with these processes and the need to balance potentially divergent views from different stakeholders. Recent events in South Australia where the whole state experienced a blackout are a timely reminder of the complexity of this task. It also reinforces the need for policy makers to thoroughly interrogate the reasons for and consequences of its policy response given the potential consequences for consumers and economic performance.