The chief executive of one of Australia’s biggest makers of bricks has criticised coastal shipping costs, saying it is twice as much to ship a brick from Perth to Sydney than one all the way from Spain.
Lindsay Partridge estimates Brickworks Limited is importing about one million bricks from Spain a month.
"It's about 10 cents a brick from Spain and 20 cents from Perth," he said.
A building boom in Sydney has created strong demand for bricks. Mr Partridge hoped to ship some from their factories in Perth, but was put off by the shipping costs.
"Our own employees are going to lose work and opportunities for additional overtime," he said.
The company also ruled out bringing bricks from Perth by road or rail.
"Sea freight of course is the cheapest for such a large distance," Mr Partridge said.
Mr Partridge has called for Australia's restricted coastal shipping market to be opened up.
"All ships that are coming in from overseas go around Australia one way or the other and they're going past basically empty and we just want to put containers on," he said.
But he said it was not allowed under the current regulations.
Teresa Lloyd, the chief executive officer of Maritime Industry Australia, said she was surprised Brickworks found it cheaper to ship bricks from Spain than Perth.
"It seems like an extraordinary claim to make," she said.
She questioned the original quote for shipping bricks from Perth. "I'd say he's being ripped off," she suggested.
'He's got the credibility of Bart Simpson' The Maritime Union of Australia has no time for Lindsay Partridge, with national secretary Paddy Crumlin dismissing him as a Liberal Party donor playing politics.
"This guy's about nothing else but blowing his own trumpet for the Liberal Party," Mr Crumlin said.
"It's just another case of bashing up an Australian industry."
Mr Crumlin pointed to Mr Partridge's 2014 appearance before an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into secret political donations.
"ICAC was looking at the bloke," he said. "He's got the credibility of Bart Simpson."
Mr Partridge famously told the inquiry it was hard to keep track of money donated to the Liberal Party and compared it to giving a hot chip to a bunch of seagulls.
"The seagull that's got the chip in its mouth doesn't necessarily get to eat it," he said.