Marine life gets a $13m lifeline

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Aerial shot of the shipbuilding precinct at Cockburn Sound.
Camera IconAerial shot of the shipbuilding precinct at Cockburn Sound. Credit: Rod Taylor/The West Australian, Rod Taylor

More than $13 million has been allocated for a marine science project aimed at protecting the flora and fauna in Cockburn Sound.

The State Government allocated the $13.5 million to help the Independent Western Australian Marine Science Institution to deliver three-year marine science research program.

WAMSI will investigate potential impacts and improve understanding of Cockburn Sound’s ecosystem.

The program will employ more than 100 scientists and technical staff who will work on more than 30 different projects, including seagrass health and restoration and potential pathways of impact on marine fauna.

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It will also help decide the preferred option for the new container port in Kwinana, with two transition options being examined.

Transport and Ports Minister Rita Saffioti said $400 million in the State Budget had been allocated for planning and strategic land acquisition.

“We will ensure there is rigorous environmental planning and assessment to protect the unique environment, its fisheries and give confidence to the community,” she said.

“WAMSI is a highly respected, independent marine research organisation and this collaboration will ensure an independent approach to the science informing the Westport Environmental Impact Assessment.

“Allocating $13.5 million for this major marine science program demonstrates how seriously we are taking the responsibility for ensuring our future port can be delivered and managed alongside the unique and important marine environment in Cockburn Sound.

“We are committed to delivering Westport and are currently investigating two options to transition to a port in Kwinana, along with work to provide a modern freight corridor along Anketell Road to Tonkin Highway.”

Once research planning is completed, on-ground trials examining seagrass restoration and habitat creation will commence next year.

The WAMSI partnership will improve the Westport Program’s capacity to avoid, mitigate and offset environmental impacts.

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