By The Green Issue Editors
This year there has been considerable discussion, particularly in the Fremantle-Tangney and Brand Greens Regional Groups, about what to do about an ever expanding Fremantle Port and possibilities of port expansion into Cockburn Sound. The WA Government had set up a Westport Taskforce to examine the options and they delivered a report in May of this year. The most favoured options involved considerable expansion of port facilities in Cockburn Sound. However, concern arose that these options had too much of a short term and Perth metro focus. It was considered that what would be essentially long term investments would require at least some assessment of what the long term would look like, and consider possible development beyond Perth metro. This is thus the theme for this Green Issue.
The Issue kicks off with a request to envision what WA may look like up to 50 years and beyond, the likely lifetime of any port facility that is developed. The more we look into the future the more uncertain it appears but it is possible to recognize some of the factors that may shape that future. A changing climate is most likely to be an overriding factor, especially in a jurisdiction that extends from monsoonal tropics, through arid areas and down to cool temperate regions. WA is rather unique in having such a large land mass but around 80% of its population concentrated in just one city. That city, Perth, has its limits to growth, defined by a drying and heating climate, and introducing green belt concepts could limit endless suburban expansion and encourage regional growth. To the extent that there is further port expansion in Cockburn Sound, it needs to be recognized that, like most coastal ecosystems, it is fragile. It has already suffered ecological damage from developments so far and further port development activities would require more thorough and systematic ecological assessment.
Not on this theme but worth announcing in this Issue is that long-awaited compensation of Thalidomide victims is imminent.
And, importantly, we include reports of what our MPs have been doing on our behalf over the previous two months. We have MP updates from Senators Rachel Siewert and Jordon Steele-John, and Members of the WA Legislative Council, Alison Xamon (North Metropolitan), Robin Chapple (Mining and Pastoral), Diane Evers (South West) and Tim Clifford (East Metropolitan).
Header photo: Cockburn Sound. Credit: Fremantle Ports