The state government has allocated $5 million to begin planning for a central freight distribution hub in the Goldfields.
Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls said $5 million in Royalties for Regions funding would be used to begin the planning phase of the PortLink Inland Freight Corridor Development Plan.
The PortLink project, which was allocated an additional $2 million from the federal government last week, includes the construction of an intermodal terminal and rail realignment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and a sealed road link between Wiluna and Meekatharra.
“Unprecedented growth in the state’s resource rich areas has created exceptional demand for goods and services,” Mr Grylls said in a statement.
“This had led to increases in freight from the eastern states and an almost total dependence on Perth as a distribution point.”
Mr Grylls said freight diverted north along the Goldfields Highway at Kalgoorlie-Boulder could save a distance of almost 600 kilometres.
“The PortLink concept ultimately links Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie Boulder, Esperance and Geraldton, and has the potential to build a more robust and flexible freight network that will deliver economic development and employment opportunities in regional areas.”
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the project would build on the government’s regional freight transport network plan, which is currently being finalised.
“The vision is for the creation of new freight routes to complete a comprehensive network offering freight operators better solutions to meet customer demand, and to attract new operators to the market,” he said.
“Importantly, PortLink has the potential to increase road safety by reducing the number of heavy vehicles on regional roads.”