Following extensive discussions with Local and State Government, key industry stakeholders, and port users, WAFarmers has updated their policy regarding the lease of Fremantle Port and the development of an Outer Harbour.
“Having considered the most up-to-date information available and done due diligence on behalf of our members and the wider agricultural community, WAFarmers does not support the privatisation of any monopoly state-owned asset or assets, though acknowledges that the long-term lease of Fremantle Port remains a possibility under the current State Government,” said WAFarmers President Tony York.
“The Nationals WA still remain opposed to any sale of Fremantle Port, so if the sale is progressed, the Treasurer and Premier will have to undertake further negotiations with their partners in government.
“We understand that the State Government needs to relinquish some assets to assist in offsetting the state’s debt and, to this end, our role is to act as a check-and-balance on the process to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for our members, and the agricultural industry as a whole.
“Given the information available and our consultations, we do not support the privatisation of monopoly infrastructure unless there are clear benefits for Western Australian agriculture.”
With the information the State Government has provided, WAFarmers has offered the following provisions and concerns around the proposed sale.
“While we remain concerned that the proposed provisions for oversight and regulation of access and pricing have not been tested in WA infrastructure privatisation, we encourage the State Government to evaluate the access and pricing policies in conjunction with the ACCC,” Mr York said.
“Further, WAFarmers encourages the State Government to develop a long-term infrastructure plan. This would include transport routes and linkages, the outer harbour, including the livestock facility, existing bulk and private facilities, and private infrastructure.”
Mr York said WAFarmers welcomed the State Government action in ensuring that adequate safeguards were available to prevent failings as seen in the privatisation of WA railway network.
Though in support of a dedicated outer harbour and livestock facility, Mr York said WAFarmers did not consider the proposed 25 year deadline for a containerised outer harbour to be realistic and explained that key points be taken into consideration when developing the facility.
“We welcome the acknowledgement from State Government that the Fremantle Port facility does have a use-by date,” he explained.
“While WAFarmers does not dispute that the estimated two million Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) capacity of Fremantle Port is realistic, we do not consider the existing transport linkages adequate to support an estimated tripled through-put.
“As such, the outer harbour livestock facility must be developed as stage one of the wider development of the Kwinana Industrial Area and the containerised outer harbour to ensure it does not impede on meeting the long-term economic requirements of the State, and must be developed in conjunction with the future users of the port.
“However, we have significant reservations around the fact that there has been limited environmental scoping work done on the feasibility of what the government is proposing to do.”
For further details on the policy, contact WAFarmers Executive Officer Grady Powell on (08) 9486 2100.
All media requests to be directed to WAFarmers Marketing and Events Manager Megan MacNeill on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].