Live export loading pledge for Kwinana

Live export loading pledge for Kwinana


Opinion
The Fremantle port used by the live export industry. There are plans to build a live export berth in Kwinana.

The Fremantle port used by the live export industry. There are plans to build a live export berth in Kwinana.

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WA Live Exporters Association (WALEA) chairman David Jarvis has supported the Liberal Party's pledge to build a dedicated live export loading berth at Kwinana.

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WA Live Exporters Association (WALEA) chairman David Jarvis has supported the Liberal Party's pledge to build a dedicated live export loading berth at Kwinana.

Premier Colin Barnett revealed on Wednesday that if re-elected, the Liberals would spend $110 million for the dedicated berth.

Mr Barnett said the new facility, to be funded from the proceeds of the partial sale of Western Power, would be built close to Fremantle Port's Kwinana Bulk terminal.

"This will be a world-class dedicated livestock and fodder loading system that will quickly and efficiently turn ships around in the minimum of time, an important factor for the viability of our sheep and cattle producers," Mr Barnett said.

"A Liberal government will work with industry to foster joint investment in the new facility to ensure it best meets industry needs."

Mr Barnett said the new facility would end the need to move sheep and cattle trucks through Fremantle to the north quay, overcoming community concern about noise, dust and smell.

It would allow Fremantle to capitalise on its growing attraction as a cruise ship destination and free up the use of berths 1 and 2 at the mouth of Fremantle Port's inner harbour.

"The provision of infrastructure is an essential role for government in ensuring WA's agricultural producers are as efficient and productive as possible," he said.

About 68 livestock ships berth at Fremantle every year and 1.8 million head of livestock were exported from the port in 2015-16.

Two million head are forecast to be exported in 2016-17 – meaning a relocation would support the growth of the industry.

Mr Jarvis said there were cost issues involved in relocating the port.

He told Treasurer Mike Nahan at a WALEA meeting in early 2016, $110m would be insufficient to fund the development.

"While we are very supportive of the relocation, we haven't seen any due-diligence in the cost of establishing a facility in an alternative site," Mr Jarvis said.

"Without seeing those figures we believe $110m will not even go close to establishing an alternative facility.

"There is the question of funding, the Liberals getting into government again and the sale of Western Power and it will need to be built – once they look at it, they too will realise that $110m may not be sufficient to deliver the goods."

Mr Jarvis is yet to see the detail of the proposal.

If the Liberals are re-elected WALEA wants the government to consult with industry.

"We are happy for the government to give us some more details on how the $110m is going to contribute to a port facility outside Fremantle," Mr Jarvis said.

"We are supportive of the concept, it's up to them to do the homework and we will be happy to assist to make it work."

Agriculture Minister Mark Lewis said the Liberal-led government had always been a strong supporter of the live export trade, recognising that WA markets demand high-quality, disease free and humanely produced and shipped livestock.

"While chilled meat products are appropriate for some markets, many of the world's most populous countries, which have the greatest need for meat, do not have a well-developed refrigerated distribution network," Mr Lewis said.

"These countries represent big opportunities for WA livestock producers and a Liberal-led government supports them in supplying live sheep and cattle to these markets.

"High quality, well-located infrastructure is vital for an efficient live export trade."

The preferred site is adjacent to the existing marine infrastructure at Kwinana Bulk Terminal and Kwinana Bulk Jetty.

Part of these structures could be utilised for truck access to the livestock export facility.

It is envisioned that the final design will be for a new long loading dock with a design water depth of 12.65 metres and a large truck turning apron to allow for the most efficient livestock truck fanning and the largest livestock carriers in the world.

Mr Lewis said his party had made big investments in infrastructure to improve agricultural productivity.

This includes major improvements to grain freight routes and commody roads across the State, agricultural irrigation projects, Doppler radars and the $70m expansion of the Busselton/ Margaret River Airport which would provide opportunities for agricultural air freight.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said the port commitment from government was a good sign for industry.

"It is a clear recognition from government that this is a necessity to do this," Mr Seabrook said.

"We appreciate they have made a commitment.

"We would rather the commitment didn't hinge on the sale of an asset and was a commitment they were prepared to carry out irrespective if they sold the asset or not."

Mr Seabrook said it was a positive step forward for industry, as live export was an asset to the State's economy.

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