Detailed planning for Broome’s long-anticipated boat launching facility could begin despite proponents not yet having assurances that outstanding funding for the $78 million project will be forthcoming. The Shire of Broome last year endorsed plans for the $77.7m Entrance Point Harbour, which was soon followed by a $35m State Government commitment to the plan, which has been decades in the making. It was hoped the Federal Government would pick up a large chunk of the tab for the $43m shortfall, however, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said a letter from WA Premier Mark McGowan following the March State Election requesting such funds was knocked back. “We are investigating what early works can commence so when the Federal funding comes through we are ready to go,” she said. “We did request some funds from the Commonwealth in our first round of discussions post-election which wasn’t fruitful but I intend to go back to the Commonwealth in the next few weeks to see how we can secure more funding for the project. “It wasn’t a ‘no, not ever’, it was a ‘no, not at this time but if you reapproach we may consider it’.” Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said there was a “once-in-a-lifetime” window right now for the project to go ahead. “We are in a position we have never been in in terms of timing and having this across-the-board support from all stakeholders in the community for the location and construction,” he said. “So we will be doing some detailed design (and engineering) works, public art and art interpretation projects that will be part and parcel of the facility. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this project to go ahead and we are very hopeful we will be getting some funding to do it very soon.” Mr Tracey said the Shire did expect to have to contribute some money to the project. A Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications spokesman said it was not aware of any application to fund the project under the Building Better Regions Fund. “BBRF round five applications are currently under assessment, with the final outcomes expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2021,” the spokesperson said. “As in previous rounds, BBRF round five is an open, competitive and merit-based program currently being assessed against publicly available, robust program guidelines by the Business Grants Hub in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to ensure the most worthy projects receive funding.” Round six of the fund will open later this year.