MUA---Here to Stay ...Today!

The Role of the NFF in Australian Public Life

Donald McGauchie

Thank you very much Ray for the introduction and of course the invitation to join this group tonight and talk a little bit about, as you rightly pointed out, the farms organisation and its history and why, in fact, we became involved in the waterfront in the way that we did. I particularly want to talk about the policy approach of the National Farmers Federation and why I think there is likely to be the pressures on organisations like that from here on with the sort of pressures that Australian politics is putting on itself and on the community as we head into the next few months and the next few years.

The National Farmers Federation has only been around for 20 years. It was the first time that we had actually had a peak body in the farm organisations to represent us without the divisions that had been there in the past. It was formed to provide, what people at the time talked about, a single voice to represent farmers at both national and international level. The people who put it together identified the political, industrial and economic issues as the ones that they should focus their efforts on. I think one of the things that people probably haven't fully understood, and I suspect a great many farmers have never fully understood, is that the NFF has always seen its role as advancing agriculture, not individual farmers.

That is a pretty important point because it means that we have never seen the defence of every individual farmer, come hell or high water, as what was important but, in fact, putting a framework in place where agriculture could, in fact, change and adapt and be able to succeed whatever was thrown at it and there is a big difference. I suspect we are going to see some real pressures, and I will talk about that in a moment, on that concept over the next few years.

What people identified very early on is, in fact, that what was important was an efficient economy. If people were going to have a reasonable standard of living. If agriculture was to have a future, then we had to have an efficient economy that worked and could provide those opportunities whatever the short term difficulties might provide.

And when you looked at the Australian economy at that time, we had been successfully squandering our number one position in the world as far as standard of living at the turn of the century, we had been successfully running that down hill over that 70 odd years. We had a highly regulated and highly protected economy which was, in fact, costing our efficient industries very dearly. Let me say that agriculture itself and some of the people involved in politics in agriculture had contributed very substantially to that decline in some of the policies that they had brought forward.

At an international level, we were seeing some marked changes taking place which were very important. Great Britain was going into the European Economic Community as it was called in those days and we saw the loss of some markets that we considered, and in fact were, traditional markets that we had open access to. We saw border controls coming into place that made it difficult for us to compete. We saw subsidised agricultural production really starting to get a move on in Europe as well as in the United States and, of course, that whole process led to the final idiocy and corruption of the market place in export subsidies. All of those things were happening---some well identified, some not---but there was certainly a sense amongst the people who put NFF together that those were the things that were happening and the things that had to be dealt with.

Now, the response of NFF and the people, I think the remarkable people, who led it in those early days, was to identify these things and work out how we were going to operate. What they saw was that in a domestic sense we needed some pretty fundamental changes. We had to in fact reverse what had gone on over the previous 70 years since federation. We had to set about and open up the Australian economy. We had to reduce protection. We had to deregulate and we had to begin the process of privatisation of a whole lot of government enterprises which needed quite significant change.

At an international level, trade reform was easily the most important issue. The NFF worked with governments of both political persuasions over the last 20 years to bring about that exercise. I would have to say there was very strong bipartisan support certainly up until now for that process. Indeed, one of my predecessors, Ian McLachlan, was present at the formation of the Cairns Group and he was very much a part of that process. We supported the previous Government in their efforts through the GATT Uraguay Round on through to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation and the processes of trade reform that have gone on within that organisation.

We hear the term "globalisation" being thrown around now in two ways and in some people's minds it is a term of abuse. Unfortunately that kind of attitude is, I think, going to be extremely dangerous to us in the future.

Globalisation you always think was something dreamed up by politicians to frighten small children the way it is talked about at the moment. But if you stand back and analyse it, it really, in my view, simply means what is happening in a physical sense, and that is, we now have the capacity to move expertise, information and capital around the world at electronic speed. The boundaries and the ability of governments to control that, are no greater today than a century ago when the telegraph itself first came into place, when the expansion of railway systems and the development of steam ships meant that people could move relatively quickly compared to how they had in the past.

Now we genuinely are starting to move to a borderless world where we can move expertise, information, knowledge and capital around at very great speed and so the ability of governments to manipulate systems for their own advantage is being reduced to, let me say, the benefit of the great majority of people. And of course it is computers and electronic communications that has enabled that to happen.

I don't often read Phillip Adams but occasionally I am tempted to do so for various reasons just perhaps to sharpen up my mind a little and I have been quoting recently a piece he wrote in The Australian some months ago where he said about globalisation that it was the economic doctrine that elevates an elite by grinding down the rest of the population to the lowest of possible denominators. In my view, he had that completely wrong. In fact what he was talking about was socialism and an incapacity apparently to recognise that.

It hasn't always been popular, even among the farming community and probably less so today than ever, that NFF has taken the sort of approach that it has taken. Yet when you recognise that we export some 20 billion dollars worth of product and import about 2 billion worth of agricultural products, it is easy to see why we recognise the need to open this economy up as much as we have attempted to. But it has meant inevitably a lot of change internally, and a lot of people have had difficulty coping with that. You can also say, I think, that too often when we extol the virtues of some of these changes, we have probably given the impression that there are some magic solutions out there and, of course, that isn't true. In fact, what happens when you open up the system, you actually make it a damn sight tougher. It is tougher to survive, it is not easy. There is no way of hiding---there is no where to hide and so you just have to be better than everybody else if you are going to survive and if you're not, you won't. That I think has come as a shock to some people and I think we have to be careful that we don't over-sell the benefits or at least don't try and hide the difficulties of what it means to open an economy up to all of the advantages it may have, it also means some pressures. Much of what we achieve are incremental gains. Again there are no magic solutions. There is no one single thing that we can do or ever have done that can open up the system and make it easier for everybody. In fact, we often have to take on some very hard things and at the end of those, the gains in themselves may not be that substantial but without them, we will fall behind.

Competition is not an end in itself. It is not a virtue of itself. It is something that we have to do in order to have more jobs and to have better jobs for the majority of our people. Of course, in that whole process we run into what I think is one of the great paradoxes and that is you have to shed jobs often to create new jobs. If you are going to continue to evolve the economy in a modern way so often you have to shed many jobs in order to open up the new ones that are there. Otherwise, of course, we would all be subsistence farmers. The logic is so obvious and yet it is not always clear to people who have to live through it. I guess if you are one of those who have expected your life to be comfortable and not to have to change too much and then all of a sudden it does, it is not easy for such people to cope with that or understand it.

When we set out to open our markets, and a country the size of Australia has to operate in a rules-based system, you have to expect that you are going to have to obey the rules yourself. Probably more so than even the big players and often that is hard to explain politically to people who are feeling the pressure. So in that whole process, we have to address the issues of change and uncertainty for those people who don't find that easy. Yet if you look at the figures, something around 95% of the people who change jobs in this country every year do so voluntarily. It is a very small percentage of people who have to change them by compulsion and yet they're the ones we so often hear from and they're the ones with the bleeding hearts who run out in front of us to suggest that we shouldn't be evolving the economy to cope with the modern world.

So we do have to look at ways in which we can help people cope with change. But it seems to me that education and re-training are the ways you do that, not trying to delude people into thinking that we can make these changes go away or that there are simple solutions to complex problems. I give you an example in agriculture at the moment when I look at some of my colleagues in the pork industry who are looking for specific protection either through tariffs or some sort of labelling regime that they think will protect them from the real world. Yet the risks to them of going down the path that they themselves are advocating, if you stand back and think about it, are substantial.

There was a letter in one of the national papers recently from somebody who was supporting the pig industry's right to labelling to show where the product was made or grown or produced or whatever had been done to it and what they were saying was "Yes, we support the pork industry having Canada branded all over every piece of pork that is brought into the country". But what he is also saying is that we also want it labelled with whether or not the product has been produced under intensive housing, whether antibiotics or other chemicals have been used in its production and whether indeed any genetically modified organisms have been used at any stage including in the feeding regime.

All of those things would have horrified the people in the pig industry who are looking to have Canada stamped on the label. But you can't have it both ways, yet all too often people think that you can.

On the side of putting on a tariff, when you consider that the imported product in the last 12 months has gone down, not up, in quantity coming in here and is less than 5% of the total pork consumed in this country, the implications of going outside the WTO rules and putting a tariff on imported product when we export to Canada a very significant amount of beef and canned fruit and the fact that they would then be entitled to react in exactly the same way doesn't bear thinking about. Or, the fact that the pig industry, not very many years ago was the main beneficiary of changing regulations in the grain industry that took away a regulated home consumption price. Given that the barley industry has seen prices drop by $50 or $60 a tonne in the last few weeks, I am sure the barley industry would be delighted to have a re-regulation that added some $50 or $60 a tonne to the price of grain that was sold to pig producers.

So when you look at these simple solutions that people are advocating for some of these complex problems, it is often difficult for us to explain to people just what they might mean to them if, in fact, we were to succumb to some of those pressures and yet we have a huge number of people out there at the moment promising those sorts of simplistic solutions to the problems that people have.

We must have a rules-based system internationally. A country this size cannot operate without a rules-based system. We cannot compete with Europe or the United States and slug it out without that sort of approach and of course if you have a rules-based system, you have to support it and obey it and you have to be therefore able to balance the competing interests that only a rules-based system will give us.

In terms of our farm organisations, I think we are facing an incredible challenge and, in some respects, I am sorry that I am leaving it, to the extent that I am, at this time because I think the challenges now are probably greater than they have ever been. We face the challenge of a widening gap between the top end of our production systems and our people and those in the middle. The difference that is occurring now is not a difference as it was in the past, it depended on how many acres you inherited as to whether or not you could compete or how hard you were prepared to work. What matters now is management capacity. Whether the individuals have the skill to take the resources under their control and really get the best out of them.

Two of our really important industries in this country---the dairy industry and the grain industry---have had compound productivity gains over the last 15 years of around 6% annually. It is really quite remarkable and, in fact, in both of these industries I suspect the productivity gains to come over the next decade are at least as great as we have seen. But it is no longer satisfactory to be running 80 cows in a regulated price system. You are going to have to be milking 400 in an open competitive system to be able to compete. So we do have a lot of farmers in great difficulty.

I suspect that we are going see a shake out in agriculture of the order of magnitude that we have never seen before. I suspect that we could run agriculture in this country with some 30 or 40% less people and indeed that's the sort of pressure that is going to be on. So the politics of that is going to take a lot of managing. I am afraid that I think we will see a lot of the farm organisations being pressured to turn towards assistance in the form of hand-outs and protection. The ability of our organisations to resist that and to focus on the things that really matter in the long term is not going to be great.

We have to remain relevant to that 30% of agriculture that produces 80% of the output because that is where the future lies. I think what will happen is that we will actually see linkages start to move down the marketing chain rather than across the marketing chain as we have seen in the past. Because you are a farmer doesn't mean that you have that much in common with the farm next door. In fact you may have a great deal more in common with the people who buy your product and who process your product and who market it. In fact, I think that's what we will see happen. In areas like food, safety, quality, process quality, infrastructure, investment, trade policy and even general economic policy are going to have a lot more in common down the marketing chain than they have across it in the way that we have seen in the past and that's a challenge that we are going to have to see addressed by those farm organisations. And I think we will see closer alliances start to develop between those industry sectors, between the people who market and process product and individual farms. We are already seeing it with the best operators. Companies like Woolworths are out there now putting quality assurance programmes in place, only buying their beef from those people who, in fact, have those quality assurance programmes that are adequate to their requirements. I think we will see a great deal more of that and the quicker we see the demise of the statutory marketing authorities, the quicker we will see that develop in the right manner.

So why indeed did the NFF get involved in the waterfront? Well, it has been one of those issues that has been on our agenda for a very long time. If we look at that whole issue of costs in the domestic economy then the waterfront has stood out as strategically important and notoriously bad for a very long time. Not the only issue that we have had to deal with but certainly one that we have had to focus on fairly hard. Indeed this is the third time at least that Paul [Houlihan] has been involved; only the second time I have been involved in the process, because he has been around for a lot longer than I have. I think it is a pity in some respects that crane rates became the focus in the media. It was one and probably a relatively minor issue when you look at the totality of the sort of reform that we really needed to take place. In fact if you look at things like the cost of a container lift itself, it is only one and only a relatively minor issue in the totality of what we were trying to do. Reliability is probably far more important. 25% of the world's strikes on the waterfront occurred in Australia last year and when you consider that we have about1% of world trade, we certainly boxed well above our weight in that one. Labour costs probably around 30% too high. Manning levels about double what they should be, probably more than double what they should be.

If you put those things together, we are probably running the waterfront operation in Australia at about three times the cost of what it ought to be.

Capital investment is grossly over capitalised in this country. We saw at one stage, when what we were doing was causing the maximum amount of disruption, (and it didn't cause as much disruption as some people would like to think it did) we saw the system pretty well operating without, other than the containers that were locked up in the wharves where there were pickets around, they were operating the entire system with about half the capital equipment and about 1,500 less people. So one has to ask oneself, if that was possible, why the hell have we got so much investment. Of course we have got so much investment because labour productivity and the rules in which it operates have been so bad that we have over capitalised and that's got to be taken out of the system. That's going to mean difficulties for the people involved at the moment and it means even more difficulty for anyone trying to get into the system and so the process of reform is going to be slow for that reason. Getting competition in there is not going to be easy.

Ship turn around time in this country is about double what it ought to be and we all know what it costs to keep a ship tied up for an extra couple of days in each port and particularly if you have got five or six ports instead of one or two big ones, if your ship turn around time is bad in each one of those, you compound that through the system.

We ought to have far better services. Most of the shipping lines do not put onto their Australian run the very best and fastest of ships. They are not stupid. They know damn well you don't send the best equipment into what the industry generally regards as the equivalent of a war zone.

Why don't we have coastal shipping in this country? For Christ sake. If you look at the geography and distribution of our population, if ever a country was set out where coastal shipping ought to be the main means of moving things around from Perth to Brisbane and in between, Darwin, you ought to be using coastal shipping but we don't because we have deliberately regulated ourselves and allowed the union monopoly to see that we don't use coastal shipping. Because the railways are so poor and have been government owned for so long, we move things right around this country by road truck. That is just unbelievable. I am not a great advocate for rail let me say, I think the road industry is incredibly efficient but we ought to be using coastal shipping but we will not be using coastal shipping until our waterfront and our coastal shipping industry is internationally competitive.

We ought to see much better truck movements in and out of the container terminals. Anyone who has been to a container terminal will see literally hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment sitting idle for hours on end while the system grinds its way through. Instead of having a capacity to move trucks in and out with the minimum of down time waiting, we have a system that deliberately clogs the whole show for days on end. Of course, most people if you are moving into the system on a one off basis you would have to take a pocket full of $50 notes in order to buy your way in and buy your way out.

It is, as I said, the third time that NFF in one way or another has been involved in the waterfront. The first was 20 years ago in the live sheep episode when it wasn't the wharfies at that stage, it was the meatworkers but they were using the strategically important location of the ports and the system in order to try and block the development of the live sheep export trade.

There was a lot of work done by the farmers who in fact actually turned up at the waterfront to load the sheep themselves and, in fact, whilst it only took us a week to train a crane operator, it takes less time to train a bloke with a dog. In fact most of them were already trained and so they were able to turn up and load the sheep. Now what grew out of that was a several hundred million dollar trade in live sheep and a several hundred million dollar trade in live cattle. Had we lost that battle at that time, that industry would never have developed in the way that it has and, without it, God help the wool industry which is still recovering from the debacle of the regulated marketing system, if we hadn't had the live sheep trade to keep that industry going, it would have disappeared all together. Of course, it has been a boon for Northern Australia and the cattle industry in having live cattle going out.

The second episode was 10 years later---(it seems we do this in 10 year cycles)---with bulk grain and, in fact, the Grains Council of Australia and NFF with Bulk Grains Queensland and the Wheat Board, loaded a vessel at the Fisherman Island Terminal without the use of waterfront labour. We hired a foreman stevedore; the equipment that Bulk Grains Queensland had built into the new Fisherman Island Terminal was done in such a way that you didn't actually need eight people per shift, three shifts a day standing around watching an automatic system work and so by having a foreman stevedore on deck for safety reasons under contract we were able to load a boat without the assistance of Tas Bull's lads.

The outcome of that was that after that one boat Tas Bull came and negotiated every port in Australia within three months which is rather an interesting differential from the current leadership of the MUA. The outcome of that was that places like Geelong will actually reduce the number of people by about 85%, that was the biggest reduction. But, overall, the manning levels were down by 65---70% across the bulk loading system. The result of that is that we actually have a bulk loading system in this country, which is about world's best practice, with the MUA actually operating it. That is something which I think many people don't understand.

We halved ship turnaround time and we reduced the cost of stevedoring by 50% in that one process.

The New Zealanders tell me that the reforms that they have been through there have in fact added around $1 billion to the value of their timber reserves. The benefits of substantial reform I don't think can be overstated.

The question that was asked of me very frequently in this process was "Why us?" "Why the farmers?" "Why the hell did you get involved?" "Why didn't you stay home and worry about the sheep?"

Well, first of all, more than 50% of agricultural exports by value go out in containers. It is really only bulk grain and bulk sugar that we export other than through containers and so we have a very very strong interest in an efficient waterfront.

Secondly, after a lot of time and a lot of money being spent, some $420 million by the Hawke Government, it was pretty obvious that no one else was actually going to do it and so we had been looking for an opportunity for some time to get in and have a go. There were in fact some failed attempts in Cairns and the debacle in Dubai, both of which were concerning us greatly that the people who were having a go were not really understanding the difficulty that they faced.

But, of course, at the end of the day, we paid a price. Most of the other people in the marketing chain can actually pay whatever it costs and pass on that cost to us whether it is through exports or whether it is through imported inputs into our industry, we end up paying the price and so we are the ones with the most to gain or the most to lose if it doesn't happen.

The other thing that was of real concern to me was that one of the companies in the business in fact looked at one means of resolving this and they postulated a ten week strike. They were prepared, in fact, to block the system for that long and see if that broke the MUA. Fortunately they accepted wise counsel and realised that that would be a disaster. First of all, it wouldn't have lasted a week. The pressure that would be put on them by everyone from the Government downwards would have been such that they would have to have caved in anyway. So without considering the cost of a 10 week strike, it was pretty clear that that wasn't going to work.

So for quite some time Paul and James Ferguson and others had been looking at the opportunities that might lead to putting something in place. In fact they spent a great deal of time with John Sharp and other people planning and looking at what might take place. Our view was that we would have to, albeit reluctantly, enter the stevedoring industry in one way or another to try and get at least the forcing of reform. But the first thing from my perspective, looking at this in a political sense, was that we had to have cargo moving at all times. We could stand some disruption to cargo movements but we couldn't stand prolonged disruption to cargo movements. The whole thing would collapse if we went down that path.

The legislation passed by the current Government, with all of its weaknesses, was at least the best we had seen and, in fact, what we set out to do was to test that legislation to see just how effective it might be. During the political blockades of Western Australia last year we tested part of the legislation to see how the union movement would react to it and it was an interesting response in that those companies that we actually, (and they were reluctant to be involved I have to say), subpoenaed and got evidence from and got them into court, were not blockaded in the second day of the Western Australian blockade. Those companies that would not come with us and that we didn't have the power to subpoena into court were blockaded the second day and lost a lot of money. We concluded from that that the union movement was at least reasonably concerned about the legislation and how effectively it could be used.

So armed with that and an opportunity which came to us to take over Webb Dock or part of Webb Dock in late January, we started to train a workforce. The union reaction was interesting and I think reasonably predictable. They set out obviously to squeeze us out in every way that they possibly could from blockades at the gates and enormous pressure on any one who might be silly enough to put shipping through us. They set about to attack Patricks in every possible way in order to try and again squeeze us off the facility that we had leased from Patricks.

What was interesting though was that at no stage during that time, and quite differently from what had happened with Tas Bull in the grain industry, did they make any attempt to sit down and try and negotiate what would have been a reasonable outcome.

Over that first six week period, while we were getting our training going, they tried every trick in the book to squeeze Patricks out.

Our concern at that time was that they would be successful in one or both of two avenues. One was to defeat Patricks and to force them into a position where our leases were not manageable or that they would set out to stop our shipping. In the second of those they were remarkably successful. We could not get anyone in the shipping industry to commit any cargo to us.

In terms of putting pressure on Patricks, it was pretty obvious that they were putting a great deal of pressure and that that couldn't go on forever.

The options from our point of view were either to take over more of Patricks' operations, either lease some more of their facilities and take over some of their existing business or, alternatively, to provide a trained workforce for Patricks that, in the event they were prepared to take on that workforce, we would be in a position to supply people.

The thing that we found interesting in this process is how quickly you could train people. There was one young Canadian woman that we had with us who took one week to be trained as a crane operator and after a week of operating in Sydney, she was doing 25 boxes an hour. Most of the people that we had on, with the exception of a few who just proved not adept to the job, we could train for any one of the three major operations---container cranes, fork lifts or straddle operation---train them up to a reasonable standard in a week and in another week to 10 days they were at least at an acceptable standard to go on and keep the system running.

Patricks position, I think, was an interesting one. They were faced with the old union tactic of inflicting more pain on the employer than they were inflicting on themselves by causing disruption. The company quite clearly, well before they started this exercise, anticipated that the union would try to destroy the company. The belief that you can actually destroy your employer and still keep a good job, I think, is an unique one. Nevertheless, it runs strongly within the trade union movement and certainly within the MUA.

What Patricks did was separate the various parts of the companies legally and, in fact, the employment of labour and the operation of their companies became separate. What the action of the union was on those labour supply companies, was to cause those labour supply companies to reach a point where they needed to be continually propped up. What I think would have come out and may yet come out if this issue goes back to court, which it may well do, is that had the unions stuck to the agreements that they had signed with Patricks in the early stages, well before we became involved, those companies would have been viable, so they were not put into companies which were fundamentally unviable. I think that is something which, unfortunately, has not emerged in the public debate.

But the fact that Patricks, under this sort of pressure, were no longer prepared to risk the main business to prop up those failing labour hire companies is, in my view, a perfectly reasonable commercial response and one that any company ought to be allowed, under law, to put themselves in a position to do. But under all that pressure Patricks entered into a labour hire agreement with PCS for us to supply them something under 400 people which we believed, and in fact proved were able to operate their entire system; previously of course they were employing some 1,400.

Any time during that 10 week period before we entered into that agreement with Patricks, the union could have, and in my view should have, sat down and negotiated an outcome with Patricks in the way that Tas Bull did with us in the past.

I don't think there is any doubt that it was always going to be tough. None of us who went into this ever imagined for one second that we weren't going to go through a very tough battle. One of the great difficulties is that the costs and benefits of an action like this don't always fall in the same place and whilst the benefits will be substantial across the economy, the cost can fall quite specifically and that was a major issue that we had to deal with. Keeping cargo moving, in my view, was fundamental and, in fact, if we hadn't had Justice North with his injunctions against Patricks, I think, notwithstanding the weakness of the police here in Victoria---in fact I would probably use stronger words than that---my view was within a week, we would have had at least Brisbane, Fremantle and Melbourne operating quite comfortably.

We knew that we had a problem with Sydney. We could have let Bob Carr stew in his own juice. Most of the containers that were going through Sydney could have been moved interstate to Brisbane and Melbourne and ultimately he would have to have caved even if he wasn't prepared to put the police in. But we would have kept cargo moving at full scale and indeed the capacity at P & O to move most of it any way I think was one of the remarkable features of what went on.

I don't think there is any doubt we were always going to have a negotiated settlement of one sort or another. What did surprise us was that settlement having to be negotiated out of the legal quagmire rather than a physical blockade. I think that was one of the things that took us by surprise and in fact caused us some difficulties at the end.

I don't think there is any doubt that we will see significant benefit from what went on. The system is never going to be the same again. One question now though is, what is going to be the final shape of what happens. Now reform, all reform, but in this industry particularly, I think is always going to be a process not an event. No one issue is going to see reform and that's it we pack up and go home. We are a long way from finished with this process. There has been significant reform at least in the negotiated settlement. It is yet to be put into place and even if that is put into place, we will see significant reform but not enough and certainly not the end of the line.

We do have to be careful I think in our disappointment that we didn't achieve everything in one hit. We have to be careful not to under-estimate the value of what has been achieved because I think there is a lot out there. But the full value of what has been achieved and what can be achieved from that is going to require a very considerable amount of work yet to be done. We have to take advantage of what has been done. I don't think there is any doubt that the union is in a weakened state and the very fact that Toll Transport were able to go into the Industrial Commission a week ago and set an agreement in place with the transport workers, without the MUA even turning up to object, is a clear indication that there are opportunities there for significant reform beyond what has already been achieved.

Paul and I certainly intend to keep a number of irons in the fire and there are some opportunities out there for us. I suspect there will be greater opportunities for others to come in but there will be difficulties. As I said, the system is now already significantly over-capitalised and that's going to be one of the bigger impediments to getting somebody else to come into the industry and really drive some change.

Things that we see out there as opportunities, I am really not in a position to talk about . I suspect maybe that says something in itself about where and how difficult it is going to be to achieve the full extent of the changes that we need on the Australian waterfront. It is going to be up to a great many people, not just us, and we intend to stay in there and prod around, but the opportunities are there and the window of opportunity is not going to be wide. We can encourage as many people as possible to have a go; to use what has already been done; to look where the cracks that we have opened up are and actually get into those cracks and really open it up further. It is a great pity that we weren't able to make a clean sweep of this in one hit but I have to say to you that I never expected we would. I think it was always likely to be a very tough and dirty battle and an outcome that was a little ambiguous, maybe very ambiguous. But I think we have opened up the opportunities for very significant waterfront reform in this country.



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