THE taskforce charged with planning the Outer Harbour near Kwinana met for the first time on Monday.
It’s being headed by Nicole Lockwood, a board member of Infrastructure Australia which will ultimately assess the project before the Federal government allocates any funds.
“The process we’re undertaking is to look at the future of Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury ports along with the road and rail and intermodal terminals,” Ms Lockwood told the Herald.
“Our goal is to secure the freight future of this state for the next 100 years.”
The Bicton resident has also been a part of an expert panel developing the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy for the Turnbull government since March, and she says the experience has immersed her in the issues that need fleshing out before the harbour can be built.
“There is a reality of our population growth, we’re projected to grow larger than Brisbane so we certainly have a big future and we need to find a way to manage that,” she says.
She says there will be an environmental impact building a huge port in sensitive Cockburn Sound, but the taskforce will be trying to preserve what it can for future generations. Transport minister Rita Saffioti says it is possible to build an environmentally-sensitive facility.
Ms Lockwood says the taskforce will be looking to maximise rail to the new port.
“When you look around the world at networks that work well, we need to make sure that rail plays as big a part as possible. You also need to think about how you geographically manage distribution points and that will obviously go to road.”
The taskforce will also look at how to increase productivity at Fremantle’s inner harbour in the interim, as well as assessing it’s value; although she stresses privatisation isn’t a priority.
“Certainty in the market is critical, investors must know what they are engaging in and the state must protect its assets,” she says.
Ms Lockwood runs her own strategic advice company Lockwood Advisory, and has previously worked as a director at auditing giants KPMG, and says her role as an intermediary with government departments stands her in good stead for the harbour project.
“I think the value I offer in this role is my understanding of what drives the private sector investment and operations as well as how the government functions to serve the community. I can bring the two together and help them speak to each other in a way that establishes good partnerships,” she said.
Her last state government position was as chair of the Pilbara Development Commission, a position she held for three years.
Last year she was the joint lead consultant for the growth planning of Bunbury working with local government to plan the future of the port and economic opportunities for the region, now re-named Bunbury Geographe. Bunbury port also figures in the taskforce’s terms of reference.
After 5 years as Shire President of Roeburne, Ms Lockwood has no further political ambitions; “I loved my turn in local politics and I learnt a lot but I also think there are some fantastic roles, such as this, that allow me to use my skills and networks to influence without being in a political role.”
by JACKSON LAVELL-LEE