Harbour talks start at forum

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph
Westport Taskforce chairwoman Nicole Lockwood, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams at last week's outer harbour forum.
Camera IconWestport Taskforce chairwoman Nicole Lockwood, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams at last week's outer harbour forum.

The head of a Government taskforce charged with planning the establishment of an outer harbour in Kwinana started consultation with key stakeholders in the project over the past week.

Nicole Lockwood is chairwoman of the Westport Taskforce, which Planning Minister Rita Saffioti unveiled earlier this year as a group of experts who will plan for the long-term port, road and rail infrastructure needed across the region.

A forum was held in Kwinana last Thursday, during which Ms Lockwood and Ms Saffioti addressed a wide range of local governments.

The Westport Taskforce is expected to undertake the feasibility planning for a port in Cockburn Sound over the next two years, before presenting its report to the minister.

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Ms Lockwood said a holistic view would be taken in regards to the region’s infrastructure needs moving into the future.

“The Westport strategy will look at the future of the Port of Fremantle at the inner and outer harbours, the required rail and road networks and the potential for the Port of Bunbury to contribute to handling the growing trade task,” she said.

“Our future sustainability is related to a very large extent on the support of the local and wider WA community and local government input will help us to build consensus on the key factors we need to consider in preparing our advice.”

The City of Kwinana has been a vocal advocate of the outer harbour and the potential positive impact it would have on jobs and the region’s economy. Mayor Carol Adams said the City looked forward to continued involvement as the project progressed.

“The forum saw robust discussion from many councils across WA, metropolitan and rural, about how we move forward promptly, but also sensibly,” she said.

“There was a clear appetite to see planning progress in a collaborative way, and I am sure my fellow mayors would agree it is encouraging to see local government engaged early and sincerely.”

Ms Lockwood was also due to present at an Outer Harbour Forum in Fremantle on Monday night, organised by the Western Harbours Alliance.

Alliance spokeswoman Kim Dravnieks said the event was fully booked with 280 people set to attend and she hoped the forums would be monthly — with the next one in Kwinana in January.

“Everyone is interested to see how the Westport Taskforce will get on – we are really hoping that Nicole will be able to tell us about some deliverables that will be happening within those two years,” she said.

“There are some things that can be done pretty soon. There is a huge amount of reporting that has been done over the last 20 years.”

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