Don’t sink the plan

BRAD PETTITT is the mayor of Fremantle. With the taskforce responsible for sorting out the state’s port and rail freight needs for the next 50 years about to draft its first major report, Dr Pettitt makes his claim for Fremantle to retain its credentials as the state’s premier port city.

THE future of the Fremantle Port is perhaps one of the biggest strategic issues facing Fremantle in the medium term.

With the Westport Taskforce work entering a critical phase, it was important for the council to make its position clear.

This week Fremantle council has reaffirmed its position that Fremantle’s inner harbour should be retained as an operating port, primarily focused on container freight handling at North Quay.

The employment and activity associated with the operations of the inner harbour are a critical component of the Fremantle region’s economy.

While we recognise the need for an expanded role for the outer harbour at Kwinana, the council is very firm in its view that the inner harbour should be retained as a working port.

Container handling should be maintained at North Quay, provided the associated land-side transport arrangements have no greater impact on the local community than current port operations.

To achieve this, the council considers the viable level of operations is likely to be in the range of 700,000 to one million container units per year.

Victoria Quay should also be progressively developed for community, tourism and commercial uses – in particular with improved facilities for cruise ship passengers.

To facilitate this, car imports and other freight shipments coming through Victoria Quay should be transferred to another location as soon as possible.

As well as container shipments, the council believes the port should also continue to be used by cruise ships, naval vessels and ferries.

The council has also reaffirmed its long-running support for wind farm on North Quay.

For those of you not aware, the Westport taskforce was established by the state government last year to provide guidance on the planning, development and growth of both the inner harbour at Fremantle and the future outer harbour at Kwinana, and opportunities to expand the port of Bunbury.

The city of Fremantle is represented on both the Westport reference group and a parallel local government reference group.

Having completed its preliminary investigations, the taskforce is about to start formulating ideas on how Perth’s port and trade task might be handled over the next 50 to 100 years.

The final Westport: port and environs strategy is scheduled to be presented to the minister for transport, planning and lands late next year.

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