In a submission to the Metropolitan Local Government Reform Panel last month, Kwinana Industries Council (KIC) director Chris Oughton criticised the panel for ignoring KIC’s previous submissions calling for the WTC to come under the control of one local government.
KIC wanted the City of Kwinana boundaries extended to include the whole WTC that currently stretches across the Cities of Rockingham, Cockburn and Kwinana.
The WTC generates about $16 billion a year and employs about 5000 people. KIC’s members include 37 industries in the Kwinana Industrial Area ” the largest section of the WTC.
However, under the government’s proposed reform model, the Cities of Kwinana and Cockburn will merge.
Mr Oughton said if the City of Kwinana ceased to exist following the reform process, a Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority governance model was preferred over keeping the WTC under the authority of the Cities of Rockingham or Cockburn.
‘The worst possible for scenario for industry in Kwinana is that which the review process is imposing upon it,’ he said.
In a scathing assessment of Rockingham and Cockburn, Mr Oughton said Kwinana was the only local government that had shown it knew how to manage industry with ‘sensible town planning and buffer management’.
‘The Cities of Rockingham and Cockburn, which also manage parts of the KIA, have demonstrated through poor planning intents and political decision that they do not ‘get’ industry,’ he said.
‘The WTC is so significant to the State’s economic wellbeing that a single entity to focus on its issues would greatly enhance the ability of the WTC to achieve the goals set down for it by Cabinet.’
Mr Oughton and South Metropolitan Region MLC Phil Edman visited Queensland industrial hub Gladstone last week, which was part of sweeping reforms in 2008.
Mr Edman said Gladstone was a similar case to the WTC and proved amalgamation could work. He threw his support behind placing the WTC under the control of one authority and said he raised the idea with Liberal counterparts, including Premier Colin Barnett.
‘Kwinana has an excellent track record when it comes to servicing our industrial park,’ he said. The pair sit on the WTC Industry Committee formed in May 2011 that includes several government departments.