An independent review will be undertaken for the ports amalgamation project to provide confidence that Western Australia’s new merged regional ports authorities will be ready to start operations on July 1, 2014, West Australia (WA) Transport Minister Dean Nalder said today.
Mr Nalder said the review would be conducted by an independent panel, facilitated by the Department of Finance, to assess the readiness of port authorities to meet the merger deadline.
It follows delays to the passage of the Ports Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 through State Parliament. The Bill, introduced to Parliament last October, was expected to pass last December, giving port authorities a six-month transition period. It is now expected to pass in coming weeks.
It consolidates seven of WA’s eight port authorities into four new regional ports authorities – Kimberley, Pilbara, Mid West and Southern.
“This would have allowed a transition period of six months for the new regional boards to plan for operations to start from July this year,” the Minister said.
“This review will provide certainty that the late passage of the Bill will not impede the amalgamation process and shows the State Government’s commitment to the ports governance reforms and the smooth transition of amalgamations.
“These ports are critical to the economic well-being of the State. The ports and the Department of Transport have worked well together to prepare for the change. However, in light of the delay, I want to have absolute confidence that everyone is ready. If required, implementation may be staged.”
The four new regional port authorities to be established by the Ports Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 include:
- Kimberley Ports Authority (initially comprising the port of Broome)
- Pilbara Ports Authority (initially ports of Port Hedland, Dampier, and Ashburton)
- Mid West Ports Authority (initially comprising the port of Geraldton)
- Southern Ports Authority (comprising the ports of Bunbury, Albany and Esperance)
Press Release, May 2, 2014; Image: MSC