Unions not sold on new port pro­posal

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Jon Bassett

FRE­MAN­TLE Port union­ists made their pres­ence felt at a pub­lic meet­ing about a new port claimed to cre­ate about 90,000 jobs and new lithi­um­based in­dus­tries in Kwinana last week.

“You know what you do when you pri­va­tise, as it means ca­su­al­i­sa­tion of work, it means for­eign work­ers com­ing in so you can make more prof­its,” Mar­itime Union of Aus­tralia WA sec­re­tary Chris Cain said.

About 30 union­ists were among the 200-strong crowd at Ken Jack­man Hall for the sec­ond meet­ing or­gan­ised by the new port lobby Western Har­bours Al­liance.

There is no pro­posal for a pri­vate port, but the State Gov­ern­ment’s West­port Task­force is gath­er­ing all in­for­ma­tion about freight and lo­gis­tics in the south­west.

At the end of next year, the task­force’s strat­egy will in­clude whether any new con­tainer and bulk goods port with a 22.5m-deep chan­nel should be built south of ship­yards in Hen­der­son.

“The MUA have got funny ideas of which jobs will be im­pacted by this pro­posal, which rep­re­sents cre­at­ing jobs now and into the fu­ture, and they’re ei­ther ‘get on­board or get out’,” Kwinana MLA Roger Cook said.

Mr Cook backs Town of Kwinana and Kwinana In­dus­tries Coun­cil stud­ies’ claims a new sec­ond port and at­tracted in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing pro­cessed lithium ex­ports, could gen­er­ate 37,300 di­rect and 49,600 in­di­rect jobs.

An­swer­ing union crit­ics of the claimed num­bers, KIC di­rec­tor Chris Oughton said they were based on de­vel­op­ing in­dus­try on the un­used twothirds of coastal land des­ig­nated for trade.

Tianqi Lithium Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Phil Thick al­ready em­ploys about 35 peo­ple and an­tic­i­pates a staff of 180 when the world’s largest lithium pro­cess­ing plant cost­ing $400 mil­lion is fin­ished on the Kwinana in­dus­trial strip next year.

Tianqi Lithium Aus­tralia GM Phil Thick, Kwinana In­dus­tries Coun­cil di­rec­tor Chris Oughton, Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams, WHA chair­woman Kim Dravnieks and West­port Task­force chair Ni­cole Lock­wood.

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