Barnett frustrated with Oakajee Project


WA premier Colin Barnett reiterates concerns about the $4.3 billion Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) Project

Barnett frustrated with Oakajee Project
Barnett frustrated with Oakajee Project

By Anna Game-Lopata | February 17, 2011

WA premier Colin Barnett yesterday reiterated concerns about the $4.3 billion Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) Project.

Barnet told reporters that after a meeting with OPR partner Mitsubishi in the last few days, he wanted to see "significant change" in the structure of the project.

Barnett told parliament in a statement that his Government is continuing to work with Oakajee Port and Rail and its foundation customers to overcome timing and other logistical issues the project had run into.

He is yet to grant OPR an extension to its exclusivity arrangement to build the infrastructure, following the private consortium’s announcement late last year
that
there would be
delays in finalising the bankable feasibility study.

Early in January, Barnett wrote to Oakajee Port and Rail outlining the "exacting conditions" he expected the company to meet before he would approve any further extensions to the deadline.

However Barnet concedes OPR is a complex project involving a number of players and infrastructure on a significant scale.

"I just want to see a strong partnership between all the interests and a single approach from both the Northern and Southern Rail Lines," Barnett says.

The project was to be entirely privately funded but the State and Federal Governments have since committed $700 million towards it.

"The State and Commonwealth governments will be funding the common use port infrastructure, which includes the breakwater, channel, turning basin, navigation aids, tug and boat pens, the port administration offices and access roads," Barnett says.

"OPR as the port infrastructure provider will be responsible for providing most of the funds required and for obtaining all the necessary approvals, including environmental."

OPR
proposes to establish an integrated port, rail and industrial estate north of Geraldton to support the development of the resources sector in the Mid West and ensure the long term prosperity of the region.

"The Oakajee project will open a new frontier of resource development for Western Australia, generating jobs and the opportunity for a world class industrial estate for value adding industries," Barnett says.

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