NSW Minister for Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey has addressed the 2013 restrictions which prevent the Port of Newcastle from building their own container terminal for 98 years; ruling out a backflip anytime soon.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp used Question Time to grill Ms Pavey on the issue, after she has maintained silence thus far.

The Minister told parliament, “85% of containers that come into NSW… are distributed within a 40km radius of Port Botany. It is industry that decides, because of the population, where those containers are distributed.”

Tim Crakanthorp is questioning why we have to enforce an anti-competitive ban on Newcastle’s Port if business is booming at the Port of Botany.

“It’s very hypocritical for them to say ‘well, there’s not enough demand for containers in Newcastle, but we’re still going to impose a cap, just in case there is’,” the MP said.

“It’s an appalling restriction, it’s anti-competitive.”

The refusal to remove the restrictions comes after plans for Port Waratah’s T4 Terminal were cancelled for financial reasons.

Labor believe the cancellation of the T4 project mean Newcastle’s ability to out-compete Sydney is being further impeded, while the container terminal ban remains in place.

Port of Newcastle.