WA Government backs plans for Perth's "once-in-a-lifetime" port project

10 August 2020, Written by Business News Australia

WA Government backs plans for Perth's "once-in-a-lifetime" port project

The Western Australian Government has endorsed the independent Westport Taskforce's recommendations for a new port at Kwinana, south of the state capital between between Fremantle and Rockingham.

More than $97 million has been allocated to progress environmental works, detailed design and the final business case for the project, which is aimed at meeting long-term freight needs and remove container trucks from Perth's suburbs.

This will be managed by a new Westport Office established in the Department of Transport.

The taskforce's final report has recommended a land-backed port be built within the Kwinana Industrial Area, connected by an uninterrupted freight corridor via Anketell Road and Tonkin Highway.

Work will now proceed to determine the timetable of transitioning freight from Fremantle Port to Kwinana. The transition will occur either in one step by 2032, or over a phased period that will see both ports share the freight task for around a further 15 years.

Last year the Westport Taskforce found that even with billions of dollars' worth of road upgrades, the transport network supporting the Fremantle Inner Harbour would reach capacity by the mid-2030s.

The Westport Taskforce has found that a Kwinana container port will need to be operational by around 2032, meaning planning for a future container port must get underway now.

The recommendations of the Westport Taskforce are the result of the most rigorous investigation into WA's freight needs in the state's history, including two years of significant technical data collection, and extensive consultation and collaboration with industry, local government and the community.

Westport chairperson Nicole Lockwood says after two years developing the latest report, work will continue through consultation with industry and the community to develop the case for investment over the next four years.

"After more than two years of intensive analysis, we know the Kwinana Industrial Area makes sense as the location for Perth's future port and will accommodate rail and road links to move heavy container traffic around the city away from the suburbs," she says.

"Westport's job now is to work very closely with industry, interest groups and affected landowners to achieve the best possible outcomes in relation to land use, the environment in and around Cockburn Sound, job-creation and economic growth, and outcomes for Aboriginal people and the general community."

Premier Mark McGowan describes the new port as a "once-in-a-lifetime project".

"I want to thank the Westport Taskforce for its detailed, independent work to develop the long-term solution for Perth's future freight needs - work that will now continue within the State Government as we move to the next phase for Westport," says Premier Mark McGowan.

"It is imperative that we plan for Perth's long-term future, beyond the capacity limits of Fremantle Port and its road and rail links.

"Fremantle Port has served our State for the last one hundred years, it's now time to plan and build the next big piece of economic infrastructure that sets our State up for the next century."

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan says Kwinana has been recognised as the logical location for a new container port for decades, with its existing industrial strip and room for expansion and development.

"We must now move ahead over the next four years and build the case for investment: detailed environmental assessments, detailed port and supply chain design, thorough costings and ongoing engagement with industry and the community," she says.

"Western Australia's new port will be a 21st century facility, embracing the latest in port design to create the capability to take the world's largest ships, and new technology to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impacts."

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti highlights the planned project adds to more than $1 billion committed to continual upgrades to Tonkin Highway, through Bayswater and Welshpool, as well as the planning underway for the extension to Mundijong.

"We are getting on with the job of planning and delivering an uninterrupted, modern freight corridor via Anketell Road and Tonkin Highway that will stretch from Muchea to the South-West and connect to the new port," she says.

"We have reached our target of 20 per cent of freight onto rail, a record number, that translates to 110,000 trucks off our roads each year."

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