Battle for Oakajee port cash
Federal MP Melissa Price wants $339 million of Federal funds earmarked for the shelved Oakajee port project immediately freed for other projects in the Geraldton region.
The Liberal member for Durack argued against keeping the money for Oakajee because the project required further design work and significant private capital.
“In the meantime, I have argued that the $339 million, in the forward estimates, could be invested in other projects in WA, particularly in the Mid West, like at the Geraldton Port or to support the development of tourism infrastructure on locations such as the Abrolhos Islands, together with the support of the State Government,” she said.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester said the Government was already investing $6.8 billion in infrastructure projects across WA and was waiting on the State Government to indicate its intentions regarding the Oakajee project.
The State Government has demanded Canberra hand over $339 million that has been sitting in Federal coffers for almost nine years for the now-abandoned Oakajee port project.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt has formally asked Federal counterpart Scott Morrison to invest the cash in a WA port project.
The $4 billion Oakajee port project, 25km north of Geraldton, was approved for Federal funding as part of the Rudd government’s response to the global financial crisis with the then Liberal-Nationals government pressing Canberra for the cash.
But the project, that was planned to be the hub of a new Mid West iron ore district, never got beyond the planning stage.
The Australian arm of the Japanese conglomerate behind the port and rail line, Mitsubishi Development, last year effectively wrote off the value of the entire Oakajee project.
WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Government had got sick of waiting for Canberra and written directly demanding the money come back to the State.
I have argued that the $339 million . . . could be invested in other projects in WA, particularly in the Mid West Melissa Price