Miners to fill WA Government budget hole by paying higher port fees

The Western Australian Government has announced that port fees for mining companies will increase as part of a budget repair program, generating about $95 million for the state.

According to WA transport minister Rita Saffioti, changes to Pilbara Ports Authority’s fees will be limited to a 17 per cent increase in shipping fees levied on a vessel’s gross register tonnage at the ports of Dampier and Port Hedland.

The increase equates to between three and four cents per tonne and will be implemented by October 1.

A discount in port charges for junior miners using the Utah Point bulk handling facility will not be affected by the changes.

An extension of the discount for juniors is intended to provide certainty to junior miners using the Utah facility in the current climate and will be applied to iron ore exports from July 1, the WA Government stated.

Saffioti said the decision was made to fix the budget mess left behind by the Liberal National Government, which was ousted from power in March.

“Everyone will share the burden to help pay for the Liberals and Nationals’ out of control spending,” Saffioti said.

“Fixing the mess we have inherited will take time, but we will do everything possible to minimise the impact. That’s why we have extended the discount for junior miners, giving them confidence going forward.”

The WA Government has also endorsed other port authority board recommendations for increases to fees and charges on vessels and cargo.

Fremantle Port’s fees and charges will increase by an average of 2.5 per cent. The ports of Albany, Bunbury and Esperance will rise 0.5 per cent, while the Port of Broome’s fees increase by two per cent.

Meanwhile, the Mid West Ports Authority will oversee a three per cent increase at Geraldton.

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