16/06/2020 - 07:00

Announcement on $4 billion port ‘imminent’

16/06/2020 - 07:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The state government is poised to reveal its $4 billion plan for a new port at Kwinana as it seeks to ramp-up infrastructure projects to help kickstart the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Just two of the Westport Taskforce's five shortlisted recommendations included ongoing use of Fremantle Port. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government is poised to reveal its $4 billion plan for a new port at Kwinana as it seeks to ramp-up infrastructure projects to help kickstart the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The independent Westport Taskforce, which was set up to examine the freight and logistics needs of Perth and the South West for the next 50 years, confirmed to Business News it had submitted its final recommendations to Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

A government spokesperson said an announcement on the project would be made by the end of July.

The taskforce announced in August of last year that it had shortlisted five options, all of which involved the development of a new port in Kwinana.

Business News has previously reported the taskforce’s preference for a conventional land-backed port in Cockburn Sound adjacent to Anketell Road, estimated to cost just less than $4 billion.

A spokesperson for Westport said the taskforce had started working on planning, scoping and determining the requirements needed to scale up as quickly as possible.

Two sources close to the project have since described an announcement on the project as “imminent”.

The development comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Monday that he would like to see 15 major projects across Australia fast-tracked through the approval process, valuing them collectively at $72 billion.

Mr Morrison did not say whether that included the development of a new port in Kwinana, but rather that road, rail and iron ore projects would be a priority in Western Australia.

It is expected that some provision for a new port would be included in the federal government’s October budget.

A spokesperson for Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge previously told Business News that federal funding for future infrastructure projects would be considered in the context of future budgets.

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said an announcement on the project would provide much-needed certainty to the area, providing employment opportunities as the state emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know there are a lot of industries who are waiting on a decision from the government one way or the other,” she said.

“Once the government comes out and says, 'Yes, Kwinana, there will be an outer harbour in due course', that then provides the certainty for a lot of companies and businesses and organisations to turn their sights southwards to Kwinana.”

The Westport Taskforce’s original shortlist included three options for developing a new port in Kwinana, including a narrow island port adjacent to Rowley Road and a conventional island port adjacent to Anketell Road.

Two other options involved sharing freight with Fremantle Port, and incorporating the use of barges to transport containers between the two.

Earlier options that had been ruled out included the development of a new port in Bunbury, which the taskforce deemed too costly to develop and operate, and ongoing use of Fremantle’s port, which was deemed unable to handle the capacity of 3.8 million containers by 2068.

The state government has previously noted that construction of a new port could take up to 10 years.

Prior to a change of government in 2017, the state government had intended to pursue the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link project, which would have connected Fremantle Port to Roe 8/9 once developed.

Former transport minister Dean Nalder had at the time dismissed development of an outer harbour as unviable, while shadow ports minister Libby Mettam reportedly criticised the Westport Taskforce last year for not recommending an extension to Roe Highway in its shortlisted options.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options