The West Australian

Outer harbour a huge opportunit­y

- Nat Fyfe

Paul Murray continues to suggest that we should be happy with a second rate container port and not build the outer harbour in Kwinana ( Opinion, 11/2).

It is like suggesting we keep the old airport as it was 10 years ago. The facts are that Fremantle was built for sailing ships and can never cope with the kind of expansion suggested by his sources.

Fremantle has 700,000 containers going through a narrow peninsula now and the truck traffic in East Fremantle and North Fremantle is clearly at capacity.

The freight link does not solve this but makes it worse by directing an extra 70,000 cars through the tunnel portal before cramming them on to the Stirling Bridge area.

No serious plans have been announced for this final link because they cannot manage to funnel such traffic without massive and expensive fly-overs or tunnels estimated to cost more than $1 billion.

Yet the sources quoted by Murray would increase the flow of containers to this site three times before it reaches capacity.

Fremantle Harbour was built to provide a safe anchorage inside the river mouth for sailing ships. Similar areas around Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Singapore’s Clarke Quay and London’s old Docklands have been rejuvenate­d, facilitati­ng major economic developmen­t. This could not have happened unless containers were removed.

Fremantle’s rejuvenati­on as an economic hub is under way but container trucks will always prevent it from reaching its potential.

Yet the opportunit­y exists in Kwinana to make a highly efficient port with the kind of land base that a modern container port requires. The Indian Ocean gateway area has an area of 1600ha that can enable an efficient inter-modal terminal to be built that will last well into the future. Proper road and rail connection­s are available to service the kind of growth in containers suggested by Murray.

Not only land but shipping space at Kwinana can also be increased. Fremantle at the moment is considered a third or fourth rate port because it is limited in the size of ships that can be received.

What the outer harbour provides is not only the space to cope with the largest container ships that must presently bypass Fremantle, but it provides us with an economic opportunit­y to maximise our geographic opportunit­y as the Indian Ocean gateway to Asia.

The opportunit­y exists to receive containers from the largest ships that can then be trans-shipped by rail to all parts of Australia. This could never be possible in the old sailing ship port.

It is an opportunit­y like the Perth to London nonstop airport arrangemen­t made possible by the new Dreamliner planes which we have grasped with both hands.

Consultant estimates show that the economic benefits of building the outer harbour and rejuvenati­ng just Victoria Quay are substantia­l, with over 18,000 new jobs and $18.3 billion added to the economy with a benefit cost ratio of more than two.

Murray is right in suggesting that the future of the port is the “key to understand­ing the Roe 8 saga”.

But his conclusion that we can keep pouring trucks into a small harbour in the centre of Fremantle does not stand up.

Nor does it recognise the huge opportunit­y that WA faces with the outer harbour. It will be lost for 50 years if the poorly considered freight link goes to Fremantle rather than Kwinana. Peter Newman, Curtin University

A quiet eco-achiever

I was particular­ly moved to read the obituary on Susan Moore, Eco-tourism advocate ( Obituaries, 15/2). I do hope her family finds some comfort from the fact that she achieved so much at such a young age and left a remarkable legacy in the WA community. Another quiet achiever relatively unknown in her own community during her lifetime. Barbara Alcock, Marmion

Hirsute Fyfe’s flag

The West Australian’s headline said Fyfe wants a flag ( Sport, 15/2). But what he really needs is a haircut. Perhaps added responsibi­lity and tidy will go together. Let us hope so. John Twohill, Woodvale

Senate’s proper role

With the ongoing dysfunctio­n and near paralysis in the Senate perhaps it is time to bring it back to the purpose for which it was intended — it was supposed to be a house of review.

It should not have the power to block legislatio­n from the House of Representa­tives.

It should review, amend and, where necessary, voice strident criticism but should not be able to hold up legislatio­n for more than 12 months. Allan Henshaw, Toodyay

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