North-West Minister Ernie Bridge today announced plans to conduct a detailed and concise evaluation of the benefits to the Kimberley of the State shipping service.
Mr Bridge said he decided to initiate the project after many approaches from Kimberley people, including the Broome Chamber of Commerce. Local business, chambers of commerce, and local government would be closely involved in the review process.
"The evaluation will give Kimberley residents an opportunity to highlight the benefits and impact of Stateships on development and living standards in the region," he said.
"I believe Kimberley people see Stateships as an important service provider with a very clear role to play.
"As the Kimberley grows and develops to the position of prominance which I and so many others see for it, the importance of Stateships will be increasingly evident."
Mr Bridge said recent criticism of the service from people outside the Kimberley had generated strong concern locally, and it was important that the role and benefits of the service were clarified.
He urged key users and beneficiaries of Stateships to provide input to the evaluation so that a thorough and detailed report could be prepared without any unnecessary delay.
"The future of the Kimberley is extremely exciting with new development opportunities opening up all the time," he said.
"In that context, the evaluation should also consider the relative benefits of expanding to a more frequent service to maximise our capacity to respond to development opportunities."
The evaluation will be completed by the end of the year.