Bunbury MLA Don Punch adamant port will continue to grow

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Bunbury port. Supplied by Southern Ports
Camera IconBunbury port. Supplied by Southern Ports Credit: Supplied by Southern Ports

Kwinana being flagged as the most likely replacement for Fremantle’s container operations once they reach capacity should not be viewed as a setback, according to Bunbury MLA Don Punch.

His comments come after Westport Taskforce independent chairwoman Nicole Lockwood confirmed only four of 25 long-listed options being considered included Bunbury as a stand-alone or supplementary container port.

In comparison Ms Lockwood said 17 of the 25 options examined a new container port facility being developed at Kwinana.

“Sheer weight of numbers put this in Kwinana’s favour, however it’s not possible to predict the outcome of the multi-criteria analysis in advance,” she said.

She said the potential for Bunbury to handle supplementary containers or niche container trade operations in the South West remained real.

“Southern Ports is currently investigating a major development independent of Westport, so it’s very possible the Bunbury Port will play a much larger role in the future,” she said.

Mr Punch said the growth of the city’s port was underpinned by its ability to handle bulk exports and imports rather than the potential to handle containers.

“That is going to continue well into the future,” he said.

He said a mixture of drive on, drive off cargo and passenger shipping was integral.

“The port is about to be used to import all the equipment for the fabrication of Albemarle,” he said.

“It is a specialist port in that area, and with our commitment to expand manufacturing at Kemerton and Picton, we expect that side of things to grow further.”

Prior to the the 2017 State election, Mr Punch outlined in his “Plan for Bunbury” a desire to develop the role the port could play in the State’s freight task.

“We did make an allocation of $10 million to some initial developments to improve efficiency at the port and I’m expecting announcements on that in the coming months,” he said.

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