$ 13.5 million for a marine science program to protect Cockburn Strait

  • McGowan Government Allocates $ 13.5 Million to Manage and Support Cockburn Sound Marine Environment

  • The Independent Institution of Marine Sciences of Western Australia to offer a three-year marine science research program

  • Program to include improved snapper keepers and seeds for snapper programs, and conduct trials on rehabilitation opportunities

  • Preferred option for a new container port in Kwinana announced last year with two transition options under consideration

  • $ 400 million allocated in the state budget for strategic land acquisition and planning

  • The McGowan government has allocated $ 13.5 million for a three-year research partnership for Cockburn Sound.

    The work will be undertaken by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) as part of a larger science project to support Westport program planning for a new port at Kwinana.

    WAMSI will undertake an in-depth research study to fill knowledge gaps, investigate potential impacts and improve understanding of the Cockburn Sound ecosystem.

    State government environmental and fisheries officers, as well as key community stakeholders, have informed these studies, and detailed planning is currently underway by some of Western Australia’s top marine researchers. .

    The program will employ more than 100 scientists and technicians who will work on more than 30 different projects, including:

    • health and restoration of seagrass beds;
    • water circulation and quality;
    • potential pathways of impact on marine fauna;
    • key ecological and biological processes; and
    • strategies for research and protection of social values.

    Once research planning is complete, field trials focusing on seagrass restoration and habitat creation will begin next year.

    The WAMSI partnership will enhance the ability of the Westport program to avoid, mitigate and offset environmental impacts.

    It will help inform future environmental impact assessments and improve the future management of Cockburn Strait.

    Comprised of 11 partners, WAMSI is an independent collaboration of state, federal and academic organizations, and represents the full capacity of marine science expertise in WA.

    Westport’s recommendation for a land-backed port in Kwinana was approved by the state government in August 2020, with the business case planning and design phase underway.

    As Minister of Transport and Ports Rita Saffioti said:

    “A new world-class port at Kwinana will unlock Western Australia’s future economic growth while creating local jobs and business opportunities in our southern suburbs.

    “We recently allocated $ 400 million in the state budget for planning and strategic land acquisition.

    “We will ensure that there is rigorous environmental planning and assessment to protect the unique environment, its fisheries and build community confidence.

    “WAMSI is a highly respected independent marine research organization and this collaboration will ensure an independent approach to science that informs Westport’s environmental impact assessment.

    “The allocation of $ 13.5 million to this important marine science program demonstrates how seriously we take the responsibility of ensuring that our future port can be delivered and managed in parallel with the unique and important marine environment of Cockburn Sound.

    “We are committed to delivering Westport and are currently exploring two options for the transition to a port in Kwinana, as well as work to provide a modern freight corridor along the Anketell road to the Tonkin highway.”

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