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WA government launches multimillion dollar Kimberley resilience program

An initial $67.5 million of funding will help the WA government boost its freight resilience in the Kimberley region

The Western Australian government is announcing a major funding package designed to boost the resilience of roads, ports and infrastructure in the Kimberley region following weather impacts in recent years.

The Kimberley region has been impacted by severe floods and weather events since 2022, with the new Kimberley Resilience Program set to improve the resilience of the freight network in the area.

The program includes an initial $67.5 million investment into a range of projects to boost supply chains and support the region in emergency responses.

This initial funding package includes $6 million being provided to fund new infrastructure at the Port of Broome, building greater import capabilities for the port, $8 million in upgrades to airstrips through the Aboriginal Community Airstrip Renewal Program and $53.5 million from the state government to replace the single-lane Brooking Channel Bridge with a dual lane crossing.

WA premier Roger Cook says the funding is vital as the Kimberley will always be prone to flooding and cyclones.

“It’s important that we put the region in the best possible position to bounce back from natural disasters if and when they occur,” Cook says.

“Our new Kimberley Resilience Program is an important part of my government’s commitment to always do what’s right for the region.

“Helping Broome to become a first port of entry (FPOE) will significantly reduce the Kimberley’s reliance on the road network, while opening up new trade opportunities for the state’s north.”

The Port of Broome funding will help it increase its import capabilities in times of emergency, while replacing the Brooking Channel Bridge will add supply chain resilience while also enhancing road safety.

This latest package comes on top of other projects currently being delivered or recently completed, including the $250 million Fitzroy River Bridge replacement, the $33 million joint federal and state government funding to replace three single-lane bridges on the Great Northern Highway and the 313km sealing of the Tanami Road.

WA transport minister Rita Saffioti says further initiatives are being considered and may be included in the Kimberley Resilience Program at a later date.

“We’ve seen how devastating extreme weather events can be in the Kimberley region, and this program is about ensuring the region can better respond to emergencies when they arise and ensure supply chains are as resilient as possible,” Saffioti says.

“We are targeting investments in key areas of the supply chains including at the ports, airports and roads.

“The initiatives we have announced are just the start – we are looking at a range of other measures to further boost the resilience of the region.”

WA ports minister David Michael says the expansion of the Port of Broome is a major boost for the Kimberley region.

“FPOE status would allow more cargo to be directly imported into Broome’s port, supporting local projects and industries to bring in essential materials cost effectively,” Michael says.

“The Kimberley Ports Authority will now work with Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on the design and development of essential security and biosecurity infrastructure and a resourcing plan to facilitate international vessels and cargo arriving in Broome.”

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