Kwinana Port de­bate rages

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - Pierra Wil­lix

Ship­ping in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives are at odds with the City of Kwinana and Kwinana In­dus­tries Coun­cil over the time­frame for the ex­pan­sion of the Kwinana Port.

At a meet­ing in Fre­man­tle last month, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous in­dus­try bod­ies spoke about the op­er­a­tions at Fre­man­tle, with many say­ing the Kwinana Port ex­pan­sion would not be needed for decades, but de­bate also raged about whether the Fre­man­tle Port was po­si­tioned to deal with de­mand and pro­mote fur­ther growth for WA.

Mar­itime Union of Aus­tralia deputy sec­re­tary Adrian Evans pointed to fac­tors such as the depth of the port in Fre­man­tle to ac­com­mo­date larger ships, the re­duc­tion in road con­ges­tion in the past year, and the pro­duc­tiv­ity im­prove­ments in the past year as rea­sons Fre­man­tle could “op­er­ate for about an­other 30 years”.

Mr Evans told the Tele­graph while the Kwinana Port ex­pan­sion would be re­quired one day, it was not yet war­ranted.

“Fre­man­tle only has 770,000 con­tain­ers com­ing though each year, while Syd­ney has 2.4 mil­lion con­tain­ers each year,” he said.

“The pop­u­la­tion there is 5.4 mil­lion. The WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion doesn’t pre­dict we will hit Syd­ney’s pop­u­la­tion un­til 2055 so this shows how far out we are be­fore we will hit ca­pac­ity.

“The outer har­bour is a $6 bil­lion in­vest­ment on a rel­a­tively small vol­ume; the cost is out­stand­ing and there is no busi­ness case for it.”

How­ever, KIC di­rec­tor Chris Oughton said plan­ning for the ex­pan­sion of Kwinana had al­ready be­gun and the area would pro­vide abun­dant op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth. “The in­ner har­bour is com­pet­i­tive on Aus­tralian stan­dards with other ports and has a ca­pac­ity to op­er­ate at that level for many years, how­ever the is­sue is that WA needs an in­ter­na­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive deep-water port so that ex­port pres­sures can be de­con­strained,” he said.

Mr Oughton pointed to the 4000ha of un­de­vel­oped land around the planned Kwinana Port

as a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity for busi­nesses to set up and base their op­er­a­tions, with the po­ten­tial for an ex­tra 60,000 jobs in the in­dus­trial area, on top of the ex­ist­ing 30,000.

“The ar­rival of a new port in Kwinana will be a cat­a­lyst for the rest of the un­de­vel­oped land in the area,” he said.

Ad­dress­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns about a port in Cock­burn Sound, Mr Oughton said there were seven pos­si­ble port con­fig­u­ra­tions and five chan­nel op­tions, mak­ing a to­tal of 35 dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­ment com­bi­na­tions, with op­tions that are on the ta­ble that could avoid en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns raised by op­po­nents.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the City be­lieved a modern port read­ily ac­ces­si­ble by both road and rail was crit­i­cal to the eco­nomic well­be­ing of the State.

She pointed to con­ges­tion is­sues around Fre­man­tle Port in peak-hour traf­fic and said the only long-term solution would be to re­lo­cate port op­er­a­tions.

“This is best achieved by lo­cat­ing the port away from res­i­den­tial ar­eas, to the heart of the State’s pre­mier in­dus­trial area,” she said.

West­ern Roads Fed­er­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Cam Dumesny said road ac­cess is­sues to the in­ner har­bour could be ad­dressed by look­ing to road ac­cess pro­duc­tiv­ity and that his or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ported a road and rail solution.

Ms Adams said Kwinana of­fered WA the best op­por­tu­nity to build a con­tem­po­rary port with safe ve­hi­cle ac­cess and ac­cess to a large work­force and sur­round­ing in­dus­trial es­tate.

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