Task­force on outer har­bour formed

Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Gareth McKnight

Plan­ning Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti an­nounced last week the for­ma­tion of a task­force to plan for an outer har­bour in Kwinana — but it is likely to be a cou­ple of years be­fore any sig­nif­i­cant progress on the project will be made.

Named the West­port Task­force, the group will be made up of ex­perts from across sev­eral gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and will plan for the long-term port, road and rail in­fra­struc­ture needed across the re­gion.

It will be chaired by Ni­cole Lock­wood, who is a board mem­ber of In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia and chair­woman of the Freight Lo­gis­tics Coun­cil.

Ms Saf­fi­oti told the Tele­graph that the Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to the outer har­bour was “rock solid”, de­spite only $6 mil­lion be­ing in­cluded in the 2017-18 Bud­get to­wards the project’s plan­ning — sig­nif­i­cantly less than the pre­vi­ously promised $20 mil­lion.

The Plan­ning Min­is­ter re­it­er­ated the Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to an outer har­bour in Cock­burn Sound at a Com­mit­tee for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Aus­tralia func­tion at Perth Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre last Tues­day.

“The fu­ture outer har­bour is a vi­tal piece of eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture that presents an op­por­tu­nity to in­crease lo­cal jobs across var­i­ous in­dus­tries,” she said.

“The outer har­bour has been sup­ported by suc­ces­sive State gov­ern­ments and it is vi­tal we get on with this after the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment put plan­ning on hold to push for its flawed Perth Freight Link project.”

In­fraNomics di­rec­tor Cameron Ed­wards, who has more than 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­fra­struc­ture in­dus­try and has been in­volved in port de­sign in Europe, also pre­sented at the CEDA func­tion. He called Fre­man­tle Port a “stranded as­set” and said a new fa­cil­ity in Kwinana was the “only so­lu­tion” to pro­vide eco­nomic diver­si­fi­ca­tion.

Mr Ed­wards said a port in Kwinana had the po­ten­tial to “mod­ernise WA’s gate­way to the world”.

Ms Saf­fi­oti said it would be “one to two years” be­fore the West­port Task­force pre­sented its find­ings as the Gov­ern­ment had sev­eral other projects to be com­pleted in front of the outer har­bour.

Ms Lock­wood, who also pre­sented at the CEDA event, would not be drawn on timescales when quizzed by an at­tendee.

“How­ever, what I can guar­an­tee is good due pro­cesses,” she said.

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