09/02/2021 - 09:47

New Exmouth port proposal a game-changer for WA tourism and trade

09/02/2021 - 09:47

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A proposed new single jetty deep-water port near Exmouth will complete Western Australia's cruise ship itinerary and provide opportunities for Defence and multiple commercial users.

A proposed new single jetty deep-water port near Exmouth will complete Western Australia's cruise ship itinerary and provide opportunities for Defence and multiple commercial users.

Located 10km south of the Exmouth township, the Gascoyne Gateway port proposal, which was awarded 'lead agency status' by the WA State Government in 2020, would create a reliable and sustainable cruise and ship access point, and a strategically important berth for Defence, imports and exports, and Border Force security vessels. 

The port will help regulate the current marine traffic in the Exmouth Gulf and provide opportunities for transporting agricultural and high-value goods and supplies for industry support vessels. It will also support the Gascoyne region's economic growth, diversifying the economy and providing import and export opportunities that may not exist today. The jetty itself will provide up to five berths, warehousing and fuelling facilities – but, most importantly, offer surety for a variety of vessels wishing to berth safely at Exmouth.

The port is currently planned to be privately funded, built and operated by Australian investors. The company's Board consists of five Western Australian Directors with extensive experience in delivering major infrastructure projects.

Denise Goldsworthy AO, Gascoyne Gateway’s Independent Non-Executive Chair, brings a wealth of knowledge from multiple sectors, including mining, manufacturing and utilities, and has particular expertise in research, technology and innovation. Ms Goldsworthy said this ambitious project would bring far-reaching benefits across the state.

Gascoyne Gateway has huge ambition. It not only wants to deliver a strategically significant piece of infrastructure that will improve the freight and logistics industry in the North West, but it will do this in a way that is regenerative and respects the views of the local community and the Traditional Owners of the land,” she said.

“The port will open up the region to new trading partners that are currently out of reach, resulting in the diversification of the regional economy and allowing new industries to emerge.”

Gascoyne Gateway will be the first regenerative 'green' port in Australia. The facility will be powered by renewable energy, including potable water production through desalination, which is intended to support high-quality drinking water supplies for the local community and relieve pressure on the local aquifers.

The jetty will also put downward pressure on the cost of living, through cheaper fuel supplies and providing more affordable ways of getting goods and produce into Exmouth.

Gascoyne Gateway Managing Director Michael Edwards OAM said the facility would be

designed to not only protect the Exmouth Gulf marine environment but enhance it for future generations.  Ultimately, it is our carbon reduction credentials that will protect the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Mr Edwards a naval veteran, has over 40 years' worldwide experience in both naval and commercial port management and believes the port would regulate large vessels' movements in the area.

"While the proposed site is within coastal waters and not in the Ningaloo marine park, at the moment there is little oversight of the movement of ships and activities in the Exmouth Gulf," he said.

"This jetty would provide regulatory oversight, immediate response capability, and risk mitigation of current use to ensure vessels are taking care to protect the delicate Australian coastline and marine life."

The jetty will create 400 direct jobs during construction and 70 direct local full-time jobs at the jetty facility on an ongoing basis, and up to 130 direct jobs in Exmouth, with 600 indirect jobs across the Gascoyne.

Mr Edwards said the project group was consulting with the Shire of Exmouth, Traditional Owners and partnering with the Exmouth community early through reference groups focused on design, environment, community aspirations and local jobs.

Construction is expected to commence in mid-2023, with the port due to begin operating in early 2025. 

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