Iron ships face new fee
Some WA iron ore exports will face new charges aimed at mitigating dust pollution problems.
From March 1, the Pilbara Ports Authority says it will impose a $13,450 levy on every major ship load of iron ore from the Port Hedland, 1,650km north of Perth.
The money will be used to compensate residents in up to 400 dust-affected homes as part of a $200 million voluntary property buyback scheme.
Shipping Australia chief executive Melwyn Noronha says asking ship operators to pay for dust issues is “fundamentally incorrect”.
“It seems that the ship is just an easy target for this breathtakingly outrageous charge,” he told the ABC.
“They've looked for the point of least resistance, they are all international ships that come here, so they look for the easy source of that income.”
Around 130 people have expressed an interest in selling their properties to the Government under the voluntary buyback scheme, with 36 people now moving to the next step of having their properties valued. Home owners are offered a premium of 35 per cent on the indexed value of their property at August 2019. Some owners say the ‘unaffected value’ of their properties would be much higher than even the government’s premium.
Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan says port fees have been used to recover costs in the past.
“Ultimately there are many, many people making huge amounts of money out of the iron ore trade and our, I think, quite proper expectation is that the iron ore industry … will pay the price of the clean up of the Port Hedland West End,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Now it's up to the shippers to negotiate with the iron ore customers, either the miners or the purchasers, to get that money back.
“A commercial negotiation will be made that is viable for everyone, because there is just so much money being generated by this industry that it is not feasible that the miners would … allow a situation to arise where a shippers would say, 'we are not going to ship your iron ore'.
“We are very, very sure that the industry will be able to sort it out amongst themselves as to who pays it.
“Our interest is to offer relief to those land owners in the West End who want to get out, who feel they have been adversely affected by the planning regime that has been put in place to protect the iron ore industry and the expansion of the iron ore industry and I think this is entirely appropriate that this is funded by industry.”