AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Field slams politicised Sydney Ports appointments

<p>Politicised appointments to the Sydney Ports Corporation board by New South Wales treasurer Michael Costa had left the board without adequate breadth of shipping experience, according to its former chairman David Field.</p> <p><em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> reported in November last year that Mr Field had decided not to apply for re-election as chair of the board after Mr Costa told him that he was no longer wanted.</p> <p>In an interview with the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em> published today (Thursday, February 1), Mr Field criticised the involvement of Mr Costa and roads minister Eric Roozendaal in board appointments.</p> <p>Mr Costa and Mr Roozendaal are both former ports ministers.</p> <p>When contacted by <em>Lloyd’s List DCN </em> last year, a spokesman from Mr Roozendaal’s office refused to comment on the port corporation’s leadership.</p> <p>Mr Field’s comments support the report in <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> on December 14 last year that the State Government had been looking to muscle in on the port corporation board and its executive team.</p> <p>Mr Field said that there had been an increase in political interference since he was appointed in 1998 by then treasurer Michael Egan.</p> <p>Mr Field had previously formed a working relationship with Mr Egan and former premier Bob Carr, who he said made fewer political appointments.</p> <p>The present ministers were making decisions based on political interests rather than what was good for the industry, he said.</p> <p>In a statement this morning, Mr Field said one would expect that board members would have experience from the Australian or international shipping sector.</p> <p>He cited the value of the industry experience of directors Michael Braham and Ken Murray.</p> <p>Mr Breham is a former non-executive director of Neptune Orient Lines Australia and other companies while Mr Murray had 34 years’ experience in the stevedoring industry.</p> <p>&#8220There is a wealth of people with talent within the NSW shipping and transport industry &#8211 several now retired &#8211 who would appropriately supplement other existing talent and experience on the SPC board,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>Mr Field downplayed the <em>Herald’s</em> interpretation of his exit as &#8220I was forced out for Labor mate: ports chief&#8221.</p> <table width="306" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" align="right" height="221"> <tr> <td width="332" height="10"><div align="center">