Westport Taskforce to plan Kwinana outer harbour

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph
An artists impression of what the proposed outer harbour at Kwinana would look like.
Camera IconAn artists impression of what the proposed outer harbour at Kwinana would look like. Credit: Southern Corridor Alliance

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has today announced the formation of a taskforce to plan for an outer harbour in Kwinana – but it is likely to be a couple of years before any significant progress on the project will be made.

Named the Westport Taskforce, the group will be made up of experts from across a number of Government departments and will plan for the long-term port, road and rail infrastructure needed across the region.

It will be chaired by Nicole Lockwood, who is a current board member of Infrastructure Australia and chairperson of the Freight Logistics Council.

Ms Saffioti told the Telegraph yesterday that the Government’s commitment to the outer harbour was ‘rock solid’, despite only $6 million being included in last week’s Budget towards the project’s planning – significantly less than the previously promised $20 million.

The Planning Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to an outer harbour in the Cockburn Sound at a Committee for Economic Development Australia function at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre today.

"The future outer harbour is a vital piece of economic infrastructure that presents an opportunity to increase local jobs across various industries,” she said.

"The outer harbour has been supported by successive State governments and it is vital we get on with this after the previous government put planning on hold to push for its flawed Perth Freight Link project."

InfraNomics director Cameron Edwards, who has over 20 years’ experience in the infrastructure industry and has been involved in port design in Europe, also presented at the CEDA function.

He called Fremantle Port a “stranded asset” and said a new facility in Kwinana was the “only solution” to provide economic diversification.

Mr Edwards said a port in Kwinana had the potential to “modernise WA’s gateway to the world”.

Ms Saffioti said it would be “one to two years” before the Westport Taskforce presented its findings as the Government had a number of other projects to be completed in front of the outer harbour.

Ms Lockwood, who also presented at the CEDA event, would not be drawn on timescales when quizzed by an attendee.

“You won’t get a number out of me – I can say that on day one,” she said.

“However, what I can guarantee is good due processes.”

Ms Saffioti praised the City of Kwinana for their work in advocating for an outer harbour over recent years.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said she looked forward to working with Ms Lockwood and the Westport Taskforce.

“We applaud the WA Government for pushing ahead with its election commitment to undertake detailed planning for the outer harbour, which is destined to become the engine-room of the state economy over the next century,” she said.

“Clearly this Government appreciates the enormous benefits an outer harbour will bring to Western Australia, including tens of thousands of jobs and billions in annual revenue.”

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