THE West Australian Government last week announced the establishment of the multi-agency Westport Taskforce to outline a long-range vision to guide the planning, development and growth of both the Inner Harbour at Fremantle and the future Outer Harbour at Kwinana.
The Outer Harbour vision is being promoted as the government's long-term alternative to previous government's Perth Freight Link project, and the new taskforce will deliver the Westport: Ports and Environs Strategy with input from a team of experts in key government agencies responsible for planning, transport, environment, jobs and finances.
The taskforce will develop answers to key policy questions surrounding the location, size, operating model and timing for a future port. Meanwhile, planning for the associated road and rail links to support the new port facilities will also form part of the overarching strategy.
Transport, Planning and Lands Minister Rita Saffioti said the State Government is committed to retaining the inner harbour as a working port and the taskforce will be expected to ensure that the Outer Harbour is planned in a way that achieves an optimal balance between both facilities.
"The Westport Taskforce will focus on providing the necessary infrastructure to support the long-term economic development of the State, maximising future jobs, minimising costs and truck movements, and maximising opportunities for innovation," Ms Saffioti said.
"The Outer Harbour has been supported by successive State governments and it is vital we get on with this after the previous government put planning on hold to push for its flawed Perth Freight Link project."
Nicole Lockwood - a former director of KPMG, current board member of Infrastructure Australia and chairperson of the Freight Logistics Council – has been named as the independent chairperson of the Westport Taskforce.
The Taskforce Steering Committee will also comprise director generals of six leading government departments, with the chairpersons of the Planning Commission and Fremantle Ports. They will be supported by an expert, multi-disciplinary project personnel drawn from key agencies and supplemented as required by external technical expertise.
The taskforce's governance arrangements will also incorporate key stakeholders, including government agencies, port users, local governments, community groups and transport industry unions.