The sale of the port of Fremantle, the last capital city port to be privatised, is now in limbo.
The Barnett government's plans to sell ports, including the last capital city port slated for privatisation, appear to have been torpedoed by the WA Nationals' change of heart.
If a state-owned port is sold at a higher price with competition restrictions, consumers will pay higher prices in the future because of these restrictions.
State governments are now seeking to maximise the price of privatised assets by adding sale terms that restrict competition for the future private owners. That amounts to a hidden tax on consumers.
The Port of Melbourne Corporation is reportedly seeking to increase rents to container stevedore DP World, by 700%.
Political and commercial posturing has made the outcome of a number of Australian port privatisations uncertain.