THE head clerk of stevedore Patrick, Clayton Gunning, appealed for the taskforce investigating a second port to consider future use of land next to the current port in North Fremantle.
He made the call at the first public meeting about modernising WA’s shipping trade at Victoria Hall, Fremantle last night.
“That area has to be included in any plan when you go to the State Government,” Mr Gunning said.
However, Westport Taskforce chair Nicole Lockwoodsaid while the land’s future would be considered, there would be no detailed design plan for the north side of the old Fremantle harbour.
“South Quay is the low hanging fruit, and the easiest for its car import, livestock and scrap metal operations to be moved to any new port near Kwinana,” Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said.
His council wants to integrate the south quay with the rest of the City using commercial and retail developments claimed to generate $940 million in land sales, create 200,000sq m of floor space, 3750 construction jobs and 7200 other positions, from $3.5 billion in private investment.
Infrastructure advisor and investor Cameron Edwards said the economies of scale created by a second port would develop new agriculture and horticulture exports, in addition to assisting the developing lithium industry in WA.
“Currently, our number one export is air, with empty containers comprising 38 per cent of those leaving Fremantle,” he said.
He said current Fremantle port operators could expect job reductions of 20 per cent to 30 per cent, about 400 to 1000 positions, to cope with efficiencies such as the larger container ships and automation, but the second port could create a claimed 7200 jobs.
The public were concerned about the environmental impact of a second port, pollution from ships at the new wharves and whether to instead plan for a new port north of Perth.
Murdoch University energy studies Professor Philip Jennings said the taskforce would learn from environmental reports and knowledge gathered since 1979, including three failed second port proposals and reversing the lack of flushing caused by the Garden Island Causeway, and a new port site closer to Kwinana may have less environmental impact.
Speakers said legislation could restrict ships’ emissions at wharves, but a northern port would leave containers distant from their delivery locations.
A second public meeting will be held in Kwinana at the start of the new year.