The State Government announced that 7 of the State’s 8 port authorities would be consolidated into 4 regional port authorities and 12 smaller ports currently controlled by Transport would come under the jurisdiction of the new regional port authorities.
The role of ports in Western Australia
As part of the Ports Review, the Department of Transport updated the 1995 Role of Ports in Western Australia
paper to reflect the current priorities, roles and responsibilities for port authorities, stakeholders and port customers.
A Vision for Western Australia’s ports
The State Government announced on 2 February 2012 that seven of the State’s eight port authorities would be consolidated into four regional port authorities and 12 smaller ports currently controlled by the Department of Transport would come under the jurisdiction of the new regional port authorities.
No decision has been made on which regional port authority will be formed first. The timing and extent of amalgamations will depend on current contracts and potential impact on port customers and industry.
What will happen?
The consolidation of regional port authorities will require amendments to the Shipping and Pilotage Act 1967 and the Port Authorities Act 1999. The consolidation will take place in stages and will involve the creation of:
- a Kimberley Ports Authority comprising the ports of Broome, Derby, Wyndham, Cockatoo Island, Koolan Island and the proposed port at James Price Point"
- a Pilbara Ports Authority comprising the ports of Port Hedland and Dampier, the proposed new ports at Anketell, Cape Preston and Ashburton North" and the ports at Port Walcott, Varanus Island, Barrow Island, Airlie Island, Thevenard Island and Onslow"
- a Mid-West Ports Authority comprising the port of Geraldton, the proposed new port of Oakajee, and the ports at Cape Cuvier and Useless Loop" and
- a Southern Ports Authority comprising the ports of Bunbury, Albany and Esperance.
Fremantle will remain a stand-alone port authority.
Why the changes?
The current port governance model has served Western Australia well since it was introduced in 1995, but growing demand for the State’s resources and commodities has created the opportunity for a new vision.
Since 2000, the value of Western Australia’s merchandise exports has risen by more than 300 per cent - from $25.4 billion to $112.2 billion - and Western Australia’s share of merchandise exports increased from 26 per cent to 46 per cent of the nation’s total.
However the increasingly complex and sophisticated environment in which ports operate today is making it more and more difficult for WA’s smaller ports to marshal the skills and resources that they require.
The new vision followed a comprehensive review of Western Australian ports governance commissioned in 2010. The scope of the review was to look at all matters concerning ports, port governance and port performance so that Western Australian ports could continue to respond to the demands of the State’s rapidly growing economy.
- 2012 - Consultation with industry and port customers, draft legislation, development of policy framework
- 2013 - Present legislation to Parliament, consultation continues
- 2014 - Implementation begins, staged approach, announcement of first regional port authority dependent on current contracts and impacts on industry and port customers
The Steering Committee set up to oversee the amalgamation of ports first met on 15 March 2012.
A key outcome of the meeting was endorsement by the Steering Committee of the governance framework for the consolidation of port authorities. The process of amalgamation for the new port authorities will be managed by regional working groups to be jointly chaired by the affected local port authority CEOs.
Working groups will include representation from Department of Transport and, where relevant, Department of State Development. Steering Committee members also agreed that current Port Authority chairs will not be expected to be members of regional port authority working groups as the work will mostly be operational in nature, unless they wish to be involved.
The work of the regional working groups will be supported by a group who will be examining legislative issues around the Shipping and Pilotage Act, Marine and Harbours Act, Port Authorities Act, State Agreements and other contractual issues.
Matters considered by the Steering Committee will be summarised in a Communiqué to be issued after each meeting.