THE Australian Government has passed a bill ending restrictions on developing a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, reports London's Port Technology.
The Port of Newcastle Bill 2022 establishes a process for extinguishing certain liabilities of the port operator.
The port plans to build a container terminal to increase cargo throughput.
However, the New South Wales (NSW) State Government has imposed a TEU cap on the Port of Newcastle in favour of containerised cargo traveling via the Ports of Botany and Kembla.
Port Botany and Port Kembla were privatised in 2013 under 99-year leases from the State of NSW Ports.
A 50-year Port Commitment Deed required the State of New South Wales (NSW) to compensate the ports if container traffic at Newcastle exceeded a 50,000 TEU cap.
Under the new bill, the current restrictions on the port would be extinguished once the owners pay a new sale price.
Lake Macquarie independent member Greg Piper declared the new bill will "unshackle the Port of Newcastle from controversial restrictions".
"I've agreed to a government amendment to provide a clear path for the port to diversify into containers without the unfair penalties placed on it.
"If we can remove that penalty, then the Port of Newcastle is ready to go out and seek investors to put in up to AUD2.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) worth of investment to build this container port," said Mr Piper.