Greenies and industry divided on report’s options

Pierra WillixSound Telegraph
Kwinana ports and industrial area.
Camera IconKwinana ports and industrial area. Credit: Kwinana Industries Council

News that a new Outer Harbour will be built in Kwinana has been met with mixed responses, with industry supporting the decision, while environmentalists say they are concerned the development could destroy Cockburn Sound.

Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said the top option selected by the Westport Taskforce was the “most logical and most practical”.

Mr Oughton said the existence of established freight road and railway links in the area were major selling points and the development of a new port would inevitably be a “boon”, that would attract more overseas investment.

“We wholly support it and it reflects our long-held views that when the port does inevitably move to Kwinana, that’s where it should go,” he said.

He said business would be attracted to the area once a decision to build a new “internationally competitive port” was announced to the world.

Mr Oughton said the existence of extensive available land in the Western Trade Coast for further industrial expansion further solidified Kwinana as the logical choice for the development.

He said of the 6000ha available hectares in the JUarea, 4000 were still to be developed.

“There is going to be increased growth for the region with this option, and with it will come the generation of a massive amount of new employment,” he said.

“We encourage the State Government to stay on the path to deliver this crucial piece of overdue infrastructure for the State.”

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the shortlist confirmed what the City had proposed and advocated for since 2015 — that “the future expanded working port belonged together with industry in Kwinana”. “All five short-listed options recognise Kwinana as being central to Perth’s long-term port needs and a new modern port in Kwinana, with uncongested freight linkages and significant capacity to grow, will not only allow WA to prosper, but also support international trade and present a number of opportunities for regional development and employment ” she said.

“The City has long advocated for the port to move, recognising the finite life of Fremantle and the impractical realities of moving freight through urban areas.”

She labelled the port development as “essential infrastructure of national significance” and as a “once in a generation economic development boost”.

But, Fish Army convener Tim Barlow labelled the Westport Taskforce process a “sham”, and said further development in Cockburn Sound would have a devastating environmental impact.

He said dredging would leave the area without any seagrass, which would then impact wildlife like dolphins, pink snapper, penguins and crayfish.

Maritime Union of Australia WA deputy secretary Adrian Evans said he was “shocked” by the short-list and said the group had “serious concerns”.

He said the port development in Kwinana would result in “trucks travelling longer distances, burning more fuel, emitting more pollution, and ultimately costing consumers more.”

“We know the current port (in Fremantle) has plenty of life left in it.”

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