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World class deep sea port at Oakajee to drive economic developement of WA


The Prime Minister and the Premier of Western Australia today outlined their vision for a $4 billion world-class deep sea port at Oakajee to spur the development of high value-adding iron ore and minerals processing industries in WA over coming decades.

The Federal Government will invest $339 million in a 50/50 partnership with the Western Australian Government towards critical common user infrastructure including the channel, breakwater, turning basin, navigational aids, provision for tug and pilot boat pens, port administration offices, and roads and utilities.

This is part of a long term vision for WA to be not just world-class in mining, but also in industries along the value chain.

The Oakajee development includes both:

  • A deep sea port that can take cape sized vessels and unlock the economic potential of 300 million tonnes of iron ore across eight deposits and other mineral resources in the Mid West region; and
  • A fully-serviced 6,500 hectare industrial estate that will see the development of value-adding industries that could include gas processing, iron-ore processing, fertilisers, and chemicals.

Port capacity will expand from 35 million tonnes of iron ore per annum initially to as much as 63 Mt/pa by around 2023 – making Oakajee a world class deep water port.

The WA Government has estimated that during the port and rail construction phase, from 2010 to 2014, the project will generate up to 2,000 jobs, with about 400 personnel operating the infrastructure when complete.

The Western Australian Government and Oakajee Port and Rail signed a State Development Agreement on March 20, with OPR investing $160 million over the next 12 months in further studies and detailed planning as part of the project’s Bankable Feasibility Study.

Federal and State Government investment is subject to the outcomes of these studies and advice from Infrastructure Australia.

The Prime Minister also announced that the national advisory council, Infrastructure Australia, will work with the National Transport Commission to develop a National Ports Strategy during 2010 for consideration by the Council of Australian Governments.

Australia needs a nationally coordinated approach to the future development and planning of Australia’s port and freight infrastructure.

It will cover both bulk commodity ports and container ports and identify:

  • the most effective regulatory and governance frameworks
  • ways to improve land planning and corridor preservation 
  • the future infrastructure requirements of Australia’s ports including road and rail links.

In the past, there have been examples where sea access and port side developments have not been coordinated with land side developments such as road and rail investments – a National Ports Strategy will address this.

Smarter regulation, governance, planning and pricing will make our ports more efficient and ensure they are part of a supply chain that efficiently moves goods from the farms, mines, and factories to international markets.

Investment in Oakajee is part of the Federal Government’s $22 billion infrastructure investment in the 2009-10 Budget, which includes rail, roads, ports, energy, broadband, and health and education infrastructure.

The Australian Government’s nation-building investments include $3.4 billion in road and rail infrastructure in Western Australia.

Our approach to nation building is about supporting jobs today by building the infrastructure Australia needs for tomorrow.

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