A team of experts has been established to investigate location, size and timing for a future port that will complete the planning for the Western Australia Government’s long-term Outer Harbour freight vision.

The multi-agency Westport Taskforce will 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 Westport Taskforce will deliver the Westport: Ports and Environs Strategy, using a team of experts from key government agencies responsible for planning, transport, environment, jobs and finances.

Together, they will develop answers to key policy questions surrounding the location, size, operating model and timing for a future port.

Minister for Transport, Planning and Lands, Rita Saffioti, said the milestone step to establish the Westport Taskforce will lay the foundations for delivering the Outer Harbour.

“The future Outer Harbour is a vital piece of economic infrastructure that presents an opportunity to increase local jobs across various industries,” Ms Saffioti said.

“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.

“Our pre-election commitment was to give renewed priority to planning for the Outer Harbour, and the associated road and rail links as part of a long-term integrated transport plan for the state.

“We’ve allocated an initial $6 million in last week’s Budget so that significant further planning work can start, building on existing technical planning.

“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.”

Meanwhile, planning for the associated road and rail links to support the new port facilities will also form part of the overarching strategy.

Nicole Lockwood is to be appointed as the independent chairperson of the Westport Taskforce.

Ms Lockwood – a former director of KPMG, current board member of Infrastructure Australia, and chairperson of the Freight Logistics Council – has a strong record of providing strategic advice to government and the private sector.

Ms Lockwood was also recently appointed to the expert panel to lead the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

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.

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.

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