New hundred million floating jetty plan flagged

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser
Kimberley Ports Authority chief executive Kevin Schellack at the Port of Broome.
Camera IconKimberley Ports Authority chief executive Kevin Schellack at the Port of Broome. Credit: Glenn Cordingley

Community leaders and businesses have welcomed a proposal from a private developer for a $100 million floating wharf servicing the oil and gas industry and cruise ships at the Port of Broome.

Kimberley Ports Authority has reached a non-binding agreement with Andrew Natta’s WA-owned Kimberley Marine Support Base Pty Ltd to develop a business case.

The length of the jetty has not been decided but it is understood it would be more than twice as wide as the existing steel and concrete wharf, enabling semi-trailers and large trucks to pass in opposite directions at the same time when loading and unloading cargo.

The proposal also provides a potential solution for cruise ships wanting to access Broome during extreme local tides, including some smaller vessels currently unable to transfer passengers.

New heavy lifting equipment would also expand the current capacity of the port to handle the full range of oil and gas equipment.

The lead investor with KMSB has developed an existing industrial marine support base within the Port of Ashburton in the Pilbara. The company believes the Broome project would create 250 construction jobs and up to 450 operational jobs, in addition to existing jobs and services at the port.

Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said he was encouraged because the proposal would be privately funded.

“Out of all the plans and concepts we have seen in the past two decades, this is the one that is not relying on any government funding as it is privately funded,” he said. Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Peter Taylor described it as a “transformational” development. “This unlocks the door for trade to Asia and the world,” he said.

“This will bring jobs and extra economic activity to Broome, including jobs and a port capable of better servicing tourism and off-shore and on-shore oil and gas projects.”

KPA chief executive Kevin Schellack said KMSB would have until early in 2019 to build the business case for review by KPA and the State Government.

If viable, KPA would then enter into a lease with the company and approvals would be sought to develop the land and seabed required for the project.

Mr Schellack said the investment aligned with KPA’s master plan for the Port of Broome.

"KPA is very aware of the billions of dollars of investment happening off the Kimberley coast by oil and gas operators,” he said.

“We are encouraged by this opportunity to capture more of the on-shore benefits from this activity while also providing greater opportunities for cruise ship access into Broome.

“We have been talking with the proponent to make sure there is good engagement with the local community and the full range of benefits are identified for Broome," he said.

The KPA would work with the Department of Transport and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation to develop the strategic benefits of the proposal with KMSB.

The proponent would be responsible for the full range of engineering, environmental and heritage approvals.

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