Freight with destiny

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Port location between Alcoa Jetty in the foreground and Kwinana Bulk Terminal in the distance.
Camera IconPort location between Alcoa Jetty in the foreground and Kwinana Bulk Terminal in the distance.

Local leaders say a new $4 billion container port in Kwinana will put the industrial area on the international stage and lead to a boom in the City’s population.

After a two-year investigation, the independent Westport Taskforce has recommended a land-backed port be built in Kwinana Industrial Area after narrowing down an original list of 25 concepts to two options. Both of the remaining plans involve the construction of a new port in Kwinana connected by an uninterrupted freight corridor via Anketell Road and Tonkin Highway.

Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said the new port would strengthen industry’s ability to compete more effectively on the world stage.

He said the new port would “trigger” further investment and “very significant employment outcomes for West Australians”.

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“The Kwinana Industrial Area has never had a comprehensive government-departmental strategic development plan in the nearly 60 years of its existence,” he said. “This lack of holistic planning has led to the development of numerous constraints on industry.

“The investment in a new industrial port is the trigger to resolve these constraints.”

Premier Mark McGowan on Monday announced $97 million will be spent on detailed planning for the final two concepts — including mitigating environmental impacts on Cockburn Sound — with a decision to be made by 2024.

Mr McGowan said Fremantle Port had served WA for the last century but investigations showed Fremantle’s road and rail network would reach capacity by the early to mid 2030s.

“A new port in Kwinana will take container trucks out of the suburbs, away from roads that are not designed to modern standards to handle freight traffic,” he said.

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it would cost up to $4.7 billion to build the new port at Kwinana, with planning and construction to take 10 years.

Under one option, costing $4.7 billion, all container trade will be moved from Fremantle to Kwinana in “one step” by 2032.

The second option, with a $4 billion price tag, proposes a “phased approach”, with the two ports sharing the load before fully moving to Kwinana by the mid-2040s.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams welcomed the the announcement saying it confirmed the City’s long-held position that a land-backed port within the Kwinana Industrial Area would “best serve” Perth’s long-term freight needs.

“The decision to now plan and build a new port in Kwinana provides investor and business certainty, and will see new residents looking to relocate to the region to live in close proximity to such a large future employment hub,” Cr Adams said.

Mr McGowan said the new port would create tens of thousands of jobs over the long term, meet WA’s long term freight needs and remove trucks from suburban roads.

The announcement is sure to be met with a fierce backlash from the Maritime Union of Australia, which has led the campaign against the outer harbour because of the risk to jobs posed by automation.

Shadow ports minister Libby Mettam criticised the plan saying it would “threaten jobs at Fremantle Port”.

"At a time when we are experiencing a jobs crisis in WA, this whole exercise has been a waste of taxpayers’ money because we have known for years that an Outer Harbour will not be required for decades," she said.

But Mr McGowan said the time for “bandaids” and “short-term thinking” was over and the new port would set up the State’s international trade for next 100 years.

Work will now being on detail planning, including assessment of the environmental impact, land protection and detailed design and development of a business case for Infrastructure Australia.

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