Outer har­bour a huge op­por­tu­nity

The West Australian - - LETTERS - 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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