Budget vacuum puts cloud over port infrastructure future

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

The future of two port facilities in the Hedland area have been left up in the air, as dust from the State’s Budget begins to settle.

The Lumsden Point port facility failed to attract funds in the Treasurer’s Bill earlier this month and Labor has so far made no moves to halt the sale of Utah Point, despite signalling their intention to do so during the election. Both the facilities involve the region’s junior miners with Lumsden Point previously tipped as a multipurpose and common-use facility if it were to take off, with cattle exports likely to be based there, easing pressure on existing facilities.

Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Stephen Dawson said the Labor Government had not forgotten its election promises, and intended to fulfil them.

“There is a dialogue that’s happening across (State) Parliament at the moment in relation to Lumsden Point and what might happen with it,” he said.

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“So while we haven’t landed on what we do with it yet it was decided we won’t put anything in the Budget until we do, those conversations are ongoing and I understand the constraints.”

Mr Dawson, however, indicated there would be mention of the common-use facility in the December Budget review.

Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple, however, hit out at the State Government over the Utah Point processing facility.

Mr Dawson said the future of the processing facility was also being considered, along with Lumsden Point.

“This Government is of the view that we need to take the time to properly consider the future sake of Utah Point, who may be affected by it and the implications,” he said. “So over the next little while we will have a conversation and dialogue with industry about this important issue.”

Mr Chapple claimed the Labor Government acted with duplicity, as the party had a history of opposing the sale.

“What an absolutely colossal waste of everybody’s time and an extraordinary breach of trust,” he said. “This should have been a simple open-and-shut debate,” he said. “They are now saying they will re-evaluate the issue through a legislative framework that was flawed and which they opposed, and was not amended in line with the Legislation Committee’s final recommendations.”

Mr Dawson said the State Government would continue to support junior miners with the continued discount for use of the Utah Point facility and continue its discussion with stakeholders over the sale.

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