THE AUSTRALIAN government has given the all-clear for work to continue on expanding border services at the Port of Broome.

The government is planning work to with border agencies on requirements to secure expanded first point of entry (FPOE) status for the port, which would allow more cargo to be directly imported into Broome.

Expanded activities are expected to increase local trade capacity and potentially enable cruise ships to travel directly to Broome.

The Western Australian government said the federal government’s decision means Kimberley Ports Authority’s application for expanded FPOE status had “crossed its first hurdle”.

The Australian Border Force, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and other agencies can now work with the port authority on designing and developing essential security and biosecurity infrastructure.

KPA and the agencies also plan to work on a resourcing plan to facilitate international vessels and cargo arriving in Broome.

Federal minister for transport and infrastructure Catherine King said support for expanding import capability at the port or Broome would “unlock huge potential” for the region’s industries and economies, including clean energy and green fuels.

“This is an important step for making it possible to import more cargo directly into Broome, reducing the need to rely on expensive road transport from distant ports such as Fremantle,” she said.

“Cutting down on road transport will also reduce the carbon footprint of local business and industry, making it a win for the region’s beautiful natural environment as well.”

Federal minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry Murray Watt said Australia’s port infrastructure is a key part of international supply chains.

“My department will now work with the Kimberley Ports Authority to ensure it has the infrastructure and procedures in place to effectively manage the biosecurity risks associated with the proposed expansion,” he said.

“The FPOE process enables us to be assured the necessary arrangements are in place.”

And WA ports minister David Michael congratulated KPA for promoting the project with the Australian government over the past two years.

“While there is still some way to go, this decision signals the green light for the project and we hope this means that the process can now speed up.”