Port Hedland Expansion

The State Government has released a 20 year strategy for the development of WA's regional roads, rail network and ports, including plans to construct a rail link between Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.

The Regional Freight Network Plan also outlines a direct road link between the inner Goldfields and Great Northern Highway to Northam.

There are plans to increase the capacity of Port Hedland's port to up to 900 million tonnes of goods a year. A total of 27 new berths are planned to be up and running by 2031 as well as an outer harbour.

In the Kimberley it proposes an upgrade Broome's main wharf, developing a marine supply base to service browse basin and the construction a heavy vehicle bypass around Kununurra.

While in the south there are plans to double the capacity of Bunbury's port and expand Albany's. Bypass roads are also flagged to be constructed around many of the region's major towns.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy's Andrew Winter says he hopes the Government begins talks with the private sector to bring the projects to fruition.

"Government has made it clear that there is no funding allocated to the plan but what industry would like to see is what are the frameworks that Government has in place to encourage private sector investment in some of these infrastructure projects," he said.

The state opposition has criticised the plan saying it does not include new funding for key projects.

The Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers says projects on the Great Northern and North Coastal highways received money in the Federal budget and the State Government should be paying its share.

"Both of those projects are getting about 80 per cent of their funding from the federal government, so the state only needs to provide a very small percentage of the total cost, and yet there's no commitment to ensuring that those projects go ahead," he said.

"I'm very disappointed in the report. It's got no new money for new projects. Most of the projects that it refers to are almost just about completed and in the majority of cases federally funded."

WA Farmers says its members are glad the State Government has identified the Tier Three railway as priority infrastructure but say the grain freight network needs tangible support.

The report identified the need to ensure the Wheatbelt's Tier Three lines remain operational.

Federation President Dale Park says the Government must now focus on actually restoring the lines.

"Now what we need to see is actually getting the parties together, to make sure that they actually start working towards getting a decent maintenance program for these Tier Three rail," he said.

Sourced from ABC news.