Budget sets sale for port

Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan announced the State Government would sell Fremantle Port through a long-term lease and use the proceeds to reduce debt and fund major new projects.

With a forecast operating budget deficit of $2.7 billion and a debt of $31 billion for 2015-16, Mr Barnett said the Government�s decision to sell Fremantle Port would enable it to continue building the economic infrastructure of the State without adding to debt.

�The decision to pursue a sensible program of further asset sales will enable the Government to build new infrastructure to support future growth without putting further pressure on the State�s finances,� he said.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said the sale of Fremantle Port should make locals angry.

�Many will be dismayed to hear that Fremantle Port will be run by private operators,� she said.

�It is no surprise that WA is losing credibility with the credit ratings agencies.�

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council was surprised to hear the announcement about the port.

�The City has a good collaborative relationship with the Fremantle Ports to deliver key projects and services, including Victoria Quay and linking the Fremantle CBD to the water,� he said.

�I am concerned about the impact of privatisation on the future of the working port, especially at a time where transport links such as the Perth Freight Link are being heavily debated and that will affect our long-term vision for Fremantle.�

The State Budget included $143.9 million for the Perth Freight Link and $44.2 million for works to maintain services at Fremantle Port�s inner harbour and developments at Victoria Quay.

Some of the $34.1 million set aside for south metropolitan schools will also go to the amalgamation of Hamilton and South Fremantle senior high schools.