Pre­mier pushes back on port

The West Australian - - NEWS - Gary Ad­shead and Daniel Emer­son

Pre­mier Mark McGowan, Trea­surer Ben Wyatt and Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti have pushed back against a WA La­bor fac­tional power play de­mand­ing a re­think of the promised new outer har­bour at Kwinana.

Mr McGowan in­sisted the outer har­bour plan would pro­ceed de­spite his party’s week­end State con­fer­ence pass­ing a mo­tion crit­i­cal of the project.

“This is a medium to longterm project that will pro­vide a ma­jor eco­nomic boost for this State,” he said. “We can’t af­ford not to progress it.”

Mr Wyatt de­scribed the mo­tion moved by the Mar­itime Union of Aus­tralia and sup­ported by the Right’s Pro­gres­sive La­bor group as “bizarre”.

“The WA econ­omy is an ex­port econ­omy which means Kwinana outer har­bour, when de­vel­oped, will have huge eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the State of WA, in­clud­ing job cre­ation well be­yond the port fa­cil­i­ties,” he said.

Promised as part of La­bor’s pledge to scrap Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link to Fre­man­tle Port, the outer har­bour is touted as a so­lu­tion to traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Ms Saf­fi­oti agreed the MUA shared the same views on the is­sue as Lib­eral leader Mike Na­han but claimed she was un­fazed.

“It’s not em­bar­rass­ing for me,” she said. “If you look at what the mo­tion was, it ba­si­cally asked for anal­y­sis and work and that’s some­thing we are com­mit­ted to do.” But se­nior Right front­bencher Peter Tin­ley in­di­cated the MUA was en­ti­tled to its own view.

“The in­dus­trial wing of the La­bor move­ment sep­a­rates on many, many is­sues, from trad­ing hours for ex­am­ple to penalty rates to in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

The week­end mo­tion was pro­moted via an eight-page pam­phlet ti­tled, “The truth about the flawed outer har­bour plan”.

The MUA said Fre­man­tle port was only op­er­at­ing at 50 per cent ca­pac­ity, mean­ing a new har­bour was not needed for decades.

The mo­tion claimed lob­by­ists and com­mer­cial in­ter­ests were try­ing to “cash in” on the “pre­ma­ture” multi­bil­lion-dol­lar har­bour plan.

MUA deputy sec­re­tary Adrian Evans said the mo­tion was ap­proved be­cause it made sense.

“We agree that plan­ning should be done and a proper study will show that the Fre­man­tle port has a long life left in it and any outer har­bour con­struc­tion will just put the State into fur­ther debt,” he said.

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