The stalemate on the port lease between the State Government and the Opposition must end before Victoria’s reputation was permanently tarnished says the Property Council of Australia.
Speaking at the Industrial Estate and Business Parks Conference in Melbourne today, Victorian Executive Director of the Property Council, Jennifer Cunich, said both sides of politics need to put Victoria’s long term economic wellbeing ahead of their own political interests.
"While politicians bicker, Melbourne’s port faces the real risk of being demoted to second place behind Sydney," said Ms Cunich.
"What appears to be lacking in this debate, is structuring the lease to guarantee Melbourne’s standing as Australia’s premier port. Instead, the Government is trying to squeeze every last cent out of the sale whilst the Opposition feverishly works to frustrate the Government’s legitimate capital raising agenda.
"Despite months of debate and negotiation, the port lease continues to remain a deeply flawed document.
"The Property Council has been critical of the proposed compensation scheme from the outset and believes it has the potential to be a $1 billion millstone around taxpayers’ necks.
"Furthermore, the Government’s intention to lease the port without legislative approval is too risky to support.
"The ongoing debate over the future port lease is quickly turning Victoria’s reputation into a national joke.
"The Property Council urges both sides to put the State’s long term interest first and make a responsible deal before it is too late."