Port Kembla Trade
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL (Keira—Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Illawarra, and Minister for Small Business) [3.46 p.m.]: Efforts by the Port Kembla Port Corporation to attract new business in line with the New South Wales Government's ongoing commitment to a bigger, better port are working extremely well. In the past financial year the volume of non-traditional trade through the port has increased by an impressive 30 per cent on the previous year, to more than one million tonnes. There has been a significant increase in non-traditional cargoes such as timber, with Port Kembla handling more than 17,000 tonnes of sawn timber imports—trade previously handled in Sydney Harbour. In addition, more than 19,000 tonnes of pine logs were exported through Port Kembla to a market in the Middle East.
Total trade through Port Kembla for the year 2003-04 was just over 22 million tonnes. This was slightly down because of the ongoing drought and subsequent drop in grain exports. In addition, there was a slight dip in coal exports. However, the overall decrease of around 0.5 million tonnes would have been larger if not for the port corporation's diversification strategy. The prospects for further growth are extremely positive. Progress with the port development program is encouraging and the port corporation is looking at a significant volume of cargo coming to Port Kembla when Darling Harbour closes in 2006. There is good news also from the Port Kembla Gateway facility in the outer harbour, which handled in excess of 620,000 tonnes of bulk products, an increase of more than 200,000 tonnes on the previous year.
Ms PETA SEATON (Southern Highlands) [3.48 p.m.]: Every member of the Opposition is keen to see Port Kembla and the port of Port Kembla maximise its future opportunities. I have backed the extension of the Port Kembla wharf and the further development of Port Kembla. We want as much business as possible to be conducted through Port Kembla. It is important that the Government make sure that it follows through on its infrastructure commitments. In recent times the Thirroul to Waterfall tunnel was abandoned and the Stanwell Park viaduct project has bitten the dust. Of the Government's infrastructure projects, one in four has been delayed or abandoned and one in 10 has been completely abandoned, including the Illawarra fast train project. Until this Government gets serious about developing and upgrading infrastructure, we will not be able to make the economic gains we need to make in the Illawarra.