Coun­cils ac­cused of ‘play­ing politics’

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Jaime Shurmer

TREA­SURER Mike Na­han has slammed coun­cils south of the river for “play­ing politics” by band­ing to­gether to call for ac­tion on a land-backed Outer Har­bour pro­posed by the City of Kwinana.

The Shire of Ser­pen­tineJar­rah­dale and cities of Ar­madale, Cock­burn, Kwinana, Rock­ing­ham, and the Town of East Fre­man­tle formed the South­ern Cor­ri­dor Al­liance on Tues­day, Novem­ber 8.

The al­liance wants plan­ning to start im­me­di­ately, with the Outer Har­bour pre­dicted to gen­er­ate more than 70,000 di­rect and in­di­rect jobs and un­der­pin the re­gion’s econ­omy.

Ar­madale Mayor Henry Zelones said the Outer Har­bour was a way to pro­vide im­me­di­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the fast grow­ing re­gion had this had led to south­ern cor­ri­dor coun­cils join­ing forces.

WA La­bor agrees the Outer Har­bour should be a pri­or­ity and has promised to al­lo­cate $20 mil­lion to com­plete the plan­ning as part of a long-term in­te­grated trans­port plan for the state, should it be elected in March.

A task­force would de­ter­mine the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the har­bour and the project would need fed­eral and pri­vate in­vest­ment.

But Dr Na­han said the Outer Har­bour would cost $3 bil­lion to $5 bil­lion and not be re­quired for at least 15 years. It had al­ways been con­sid­ered an over­flow port, al­low­ing the In­ner Har­bour to con­tinue to op­er­ate.

“If the State paid for that Outer Har­bour pre­ma­turely, it would be forced to sub­stan­tially in­crease charges at the port, which would not only put work­ers’ jobs at risk but waste tax­pay­ers’ money,” he said. “I am also very concerned that the coun­cils that rep­re­sent the com­mu­ni­ties ad­ja­cent to Cock­burn Sound ap­pear to be largely ig­nor­ing a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact on their com­mu­nity, de­spite the well-doc­u­mented ad­vice from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Protection Au­thor­ity.

“It is time the coun­cils stopped play­ing politics, looked af­ter their com­mu­nity and their most im­por­tant en­vi­ron­men­tal as­set, and con­sid­ered the fu­ture of the port ap­pro­pri­ately.”

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the State Gov­ern­ment had ig­nored calls from var­i­ous sec­tors for fo­cus to ur­gently shift to the Outer Har­bour.

She said the City of Kwinana’s pro­posal for a land-backed port had less en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact than the pre­ferred State Gov­ern­ment’s op­tion of an is­land port.

Ms Adams said an Outer Har­bour would pro­vide ca­pac­ity of more than three times that of the Fre­man­tle In­ner Har­bour, and sale of land in the In­ner Har­bour and West­ern Trade Coast for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial use could off­set the need to raise user charges.

Cock­burn Mayor Lo­gan Howlett said plan­ning and de­vel­op­ing the Outer Har­bour now would send a strong sig­nal about the im­por­tance of the re­gion.

For more de­tails on the pro­posed Outer Har­bour, see http:// in­di­anocean­gate­way.com.au.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of what the Outer Har­bour in Kwinana could look like.

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