25/10/2017 - 14:56

Port expansion an economic boost: ACIL

25/10/2017 - 14:56

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Exports through Port Hedland could reach 700 million tonnes per annum within a decade, contributing an extra $4.8 billion to Australia’s GDP, according to a report by ACIL Allen, as debate continues about the impact of iron ore dust on the nearby township.

A Fortescue Metals Group conveyor, which transports iron ore in Port Hedland.

Exports through Port Hedland could reach 700 million tonnes per annum within a decade, contributing an extra $4.8 billion to Australia’s GDP, according to a report by ACIL Allen Consulting, as debate continues about the impact of iron ore dust on the nearby township.

The study, funded by Port Hedland Industries Council, anticipates tonnage through the port will lift 42 per cent by 2027, with most of the increase to be in the next five years.

Across the 10-year period, tonnage growth would be worth a cumulative $32 billion to GDP, with the vast majority of that concentrated in the Pilbara region.

It would be the equivalent of the Pilbara’s economy growing by 7 per cent, the report found.

ACIL also predicted a big uplift in tax revenue, with payroll tax to be $508 million higher across the decade, royalties to increase $4.6 billion, and company tax receipts to grow $13.3 billion.

ACIL Allen Consulting executive director John Nicolaou said the study helped to demonstrate the economic value of the port infrastructure and the trade it facilitates across the economy.

“The port of Port Hedland is one of Australia’s most important pieces of economic infrastructure, facilitating half a billion tonnes of trade, the vast majority of that trade being iron ore,” he said.

“The study demonstrates the substantial flow-on benefits of the port locally, regionally, to the state, and the rest of Australia.”

ACIL’s findings come two months after the state government was advised to halt future residential development in Port Hedland’s west end due to dust issues.

In March, TPG + Placematch and EconSearch calculated that dust from iron ore stockpiles cost the local economy $60 million annually.

That was in a submission regarding a proposed amended environmental license for BHP Billiton to increase throughput at the port from 270mtpa to 290mtpa.

A month later, the Town of Port Hedland backed a BHP plan to lift shipping to 275mtpa as it works its way to a 290mtpa throughput.

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