18/09/2009 - 09:18

Questions over private Kwinana port

18/09/2009 - 09:18

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The state opposition has called into question claims the construction of a private port in Kwinana will start within 12 months, after it uncovered no progress had been made on key negotiations.

The state opposition has called into question claims the construction of a private port in Kwinana will start within 12 months, after it uncovered no progress had been made on key negotiations.

Opposition infrastructure spokesperson Alannah MacTiernan said today that relevant government ministers were unable to provide details of environmental approvals relating to James Point port, which are due to expire in November.

"The [Freedon of Information] documentation also suggests that there has been no negotiation on the provision of road and rail infrastructure to service the port," Ms MacTiernan added.

She added that under the agreement signed by the previous Coalition government in 2000, the state had an obligation to provide rail and road infrastructure to the private port.

The port development is being pursued by private consortium James Point Port Pty Ltd. Led by Len Buckeridge.

"Material released under FOI shows that a Cabinet submission was prepared earlier this year as a result of undertakings made by the Minister for Lands and the Treasurer, to project owner Mr Len Buckeridge," Ms MacTiernan said.

"Even though a Cabinet submission was prepared, it does not appear to have progressed to a decision and the Premier called for a review of the Operating Agreement in April 2009.

"Neither the Minister for Transport nor the Minister for Lands, who is responsible for the James Point Operating Agreement and the Deed of Lease, were able to provide answers as to the outcome of the review and obviously have made no decisions in respect to the matters contained in those agreements.

"WA taxpayers should be very concerned about the total lack of transparency on the dealings of this project, which will cost them around $50 million and is of no strategic value to the State.

Ms MacTiernan's comments come a week after state parliament passed an amendment to the port's Metropolitan Region Scheme, which allowed the proposed port's seabed to be used for industry.

The approval enables the proponent to acquire the necessary statutory approvals for the construction and operation of the port.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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