RESIDENTS in suburbs ridden with Fremantle Port trucks will have to wait another two years before knowing if a second port in Kwinana will relieve their traffic congestion and pollution.
“We’re looking at all options in relation to relieving congestion on roads, and that’s something we’re working on, in particular trying to get more freight on to rail, but were are keen to work with the City of Fremantle and other councils to see what else we can do, to try and relieve any pressure,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said, after announcing a taskforce for a new port today.
The Westport Taskforce led by Freight Logistics Council chair Nicole Lockwood will investigate the location, size and timing for a future port, and plan the road and rail links, and could report in about two years.
It will be the fourth attempt by successive State governments to complete a second port south of the Henderson shipbuilding complex, after an additional 30 years of other planning, multiple studies and lobbying by councils and industry.
Mr Saffioti said the taskforce was now needed for an “integrated plan” that looked at all possibilities, including the outer-metropolitan hubs wanted by industry where containers railed from ships were put on trucks for deliveries across Perth.
She said she would wait for taskforce recommendations before capping Fremantle Port containers, and indicated the current port’s future lay in some residential and commercial development if a new port is built on a green field site, following the global trend.
Any Kwinana port container trucks would have to use Tonkin Highway to northern suburbs, when currently containers from Fremantle mostly go north through Curtin Avenue, Cottesloe, and Ms Saffioti said she would get advice on the avenues’ role if a second port was built.
Dalkeith-based corporate adviser and InfroNomics director Cameron Edwards said Kwinana was the only answer because it had 4000ha of land, and it could “future proof” WA’s trade because of the jobs created by industries in any adjacent business park.
However, Curtin University professor of sustainability Peter Newman was cautious about the taskforce, and how it may be influenced.
“The Minister will have to be very strong and redirect any advice, which in the past has come from the Fremantle Port Authority, that we do not need a second port,” Prof Newman said.