THE WESTERN Australian Government will pump an initial $67.5 million into a major new resilience program for supply chains in the Kimberley region, hard hit by recent catastrophic weather events.

Among the initial measures being delivered through the program are:

  • new infrastructure at the Port of Broome to build greater import capabilities ($6 million);
  • upgrades to airstrips through the Aboriginal Community Airstrip Renewal Program ($8 million); and
  • replacement of the single-lane Brooking Channel Bridge with a dual lane crossing ($53.5 million State Government contribution).

Ports minister David Michael said the $6 million Budget allocation highlighted the Cook Government’s commitment to continue work with the Federal Government to secure expanded FPOE status for the Port of Broome.

“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.

“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.”

The initial $8 million investment in the Aboriginal Community Airstrip Renewal Program comes on top of a $750,000 investment in the last State Budget to undertake climate change adaptation planning on 34 airstrips in remote communities. The initial funding will be allocated based on the outcomes of the planning work, targeting airstrips of highest priority.

Replacing the Brooking Channel Bridge with a dual lane bridge will add to the supply chain resilience of the region, enhance road safety, and provide ongoing employment opportunities in the Fitzroy Valley region, following the success of the Fitzroy River Bridge replacement project.

The major package comes on top of other projects currently being delivered and recently completed including:

  • the replacement of the Fitzroy River Bridge ($250 million);
  • the replacement of three single-lane bridges on the Great Northern Highway at Arthur Creek, Tickalara Creek and Frog Hollow Creek ($33 million joint Federal and State Government investment);
  • sealing 313 kilometres of the Tanami Road ($542.7 million joint Federal and State Government investment); and
  • sealing the runway at Warmun airstrip ($5 million).

Premier Roger Cook said the Kimberley would always be prone to flooding and cyclones, so it was vital that the government put the region in the best possible position to bounce back from natural disasters if and when they occur.

Further initiatives are being considered and may be included in the Kimberley Resilience Program at a later date, with the State Government engaging closely with the Federal Government on potential funding arrangements.

The announcements come after the Western Roads Federation called on better co-ordination between governments to fortify WA intra- and interstate supply chains facing increasingly regular disruptions.