Opinion Piece – City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams OAM
Tuesday, 3 September 2019
The five future port options for Western Australia, released by the Westport Taskforce recently, all include an Outer Harbour at Kwinana.
This is great news for my local community but also for our State.
As the Mayor of Kwinana I am unashamedly in favour of our port as a viable solution to our State’s future port challenges. However, I am also a proud Western Australian who is concerned about the future economic and employment opportunities in the southern corridor of Perth and the Peel region.
Whatever option is chosen, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in our shared social and economic future. We have to get it right.
In recent weeks there has been criticism about the suitability of the options and the consideration given to their selection.
The City of Kwinana respects the work undertaken by the Westforce Taskforce.
The five preferred options were determined through a meticulous process of multi criteria analysis of each option with input and participation from an extensive list of industry, community, union, environment and government participants.
It was made clear to participants from the outset that they may not like the end result, but the process would be rigorous, inclusive and transparent.
The most highly ranked option at this stage is a stand-alone, conventional land-backed port in the Kwinana Industrial Area.
Investing in the Outer Harbour will recognise the needs of a community whose industrial facilities have brought billions of dollars to the Western Australian economy.
The expansion of port facilities and the east west freight links have the potential to transform the southern region of Perth and Peel, creating an enormous employment hub which will provide new jobs in maritime, defence, transport, manufacturing and port related businesses.
Our future port solution needs to be an investment in vital economic infrastructure that will modernise Western Australia’s gateway to and from international markets, and catalyse generational change for the surrounding region.
The new port in Kwinana will be surrounded by industrial land, the development of which will facilitate the growth of the containerised export industry, accommodating the entry of new industries and thousands of permanent jobs.
There is no doubt that the 130-year-old Fremantle Port has served our State well, and while it may be capable of some added capacity, it is not capable of meeting our long term needs. As the Westport process has demonstrated, the capacity of a port is not the only consideration; providing safe, effective and efficient vehicle and freight access is also key.
Transitioning to a new port in Kwinana isn’t as simple as moving to a new home.
It will take years of careful planning, construction and collaboration before the first container ship arrives.
It will also involve the upskilling and maintenance of a strong maritime workforce, as well as the planning and delivery of expanded freight, road and rail linkages.
The challenge is to ensure we don’t wait for a bottleneck to strangle trade. Through the Westport process, the State Government has started the critical planning required to safeguard our economic prosperity.
Protecting our environment is also a fundamental part of this process. The City of Kwinana is committed to working with the State Government to ensure the highest environmental standards are achieved.
For generations, Kwinana has been an industrial powerhouse. We boast a world-leading industrial area which makes a significant contribution to our economy.
Investing in the Outer Harbour will secure life-changing opportunities for a new generation and underpin our State’s continued economic growth.
It’s time to invest in our shared future.