Outer harbour a priority

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph
An artist’s impression of what the proposed outer harbour at Kwinana would look like.
Camera IconAn artist’s impression of what the proposed outer harbour at Kwinana would look like.

WA’s new Deputy Premier has said he hopes work on the construction of an outer harbour in the Cockburn Sound will happen in this term of government, in a project tipped to supercharge the local and State economy.

The Telegraph talked with Member for Kwinana Roger Cook last week, who reiterated Labor’s pledge to scrap the Perth Freight Link and plan for a port in the Cockburn Sound.

The virtues of an outer harbour have long been advocated by local government and industry but had largely been ignored by former Premier Colin Barnett.

However, with Labor’s landslide victory at last month’s State election, a change in infrastructure priorities appears to be on the table.

Premier Mark McGowan last year pledged $20 million towards the planning of an outer harbour in Kwinana should Labor be elected.

Following Labor’s victory, Mr Cook said his party was excited about the prospect of getting to work on the new port.

“The outer harbour is obviously the big catalyst that we are all looking to – that’s why I was very proud that Labor in opposition took a pretty aggressive stance in relation to that,” he said.

“The development capacity of the government in terms of pouring money into it is pretty limited, but we have a great strategic stake in terms of land and getting the policy parameters right.

“I’d love to see shovels in the ground and see it developing at pace (in this term of Government).

“I just think the outer harbour is a great no brainer – that is why Mark McGowan has pushed it so strongly.”

Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton has been a vocal supporter of the outer harbour concept for some years and said Labor’s commitment to the project would be a massive boon for the region.

“The government’s decision to revisit the planning and move to construction of the new port adjacent to the industrial is a signal to the world that a new deep water state of the art port in WA will become a reality,” he said.

“With a new port comes significant industrial interest, and this applies not just to the large industrials that need modern port access, but also to the hundreds of new second tier business that will come.

“With expansion comes big numbers of construction projects and jobs, and more importantly tens of thousands of on-going jobs.”

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the City’s Indian Ocean Gateway project, which proposes the use of Anketell and Rowley Roads to service an outer harbour in the Cockburn Sound, would logically become the new Perth Freight Link between the port, Kewdale intermodal and beyond.

“The commitment of the new government provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to strategically redefine Perth's Freight Link,” she said.

“It will take in the most logical road, rail and freight routes which will lead to an internationally competitive Port in Kwinana.

“The significance of the project to our region cannot be understated - I have already written to the Premier to offer the City's support so that the planning and approval processes can be commenced as soon as possible.”

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