As you would have read in the Fremantle Herald and The West the long-tern lease (aka sale) of Fremantle Port ins looking pretty much dead in the water with the Nationals withdrawing their support this week.
While this might be a headache for the Government, in my view it is better that the privatisation of Fremantle Port is off the agenda for now. It was becoming clear that the rush to get the highest lease price was undermining good, longer term planning decisions on the Port’s future.
The Fremantle Port sale was getting messily tied up with the Perth Freight Link and a sensible cap on containers through the inner harbour as Treasury was seeking to maximise the return to the State Government.
Hopefully this means that everyone can take a breath and step back and have a sensible look at what is the right longer term plan for the Port.
The majority of the Fremantle Council wants the port to stay in Fremantle but we also undoubtedly need a second port in Kwinana ASAP
That said, one of the good things about the privatisation debate was that it has opened up some worthwhile discussion on how Port operations might be progressively moved off South Quay – especially the sheep and roll on- roll off (AKA RORO) cars.
I note the Premier has tried to sweeten the Port sale deal by reminding the Nats of his plans to use the sale to pay for new live animal export facilities at Kwinana. I believe this should happen anyway and not just be limited to sheep.
The sooner we move the RORO the sooner we can improve the visitor experience for Fremantle cruise ship visitors and also better connect Fremantle to its waterfront.