A report assessing Kalgoorlie-Boulder's potential as an inland port and through-freight centre will be released in the city tomorrow, Goldfields Minister Ian Taylor said today.
The study has been carried out by Professor Peter Newman, head of the Institute for Science and Technology Policy at Murdoch University and a leading Australian transport economist.
"The report examines Kalgoorlie-Boulder's ability to act as a major road and rail freight trans-shipping centre and makes recommendations on the infrastructure needed to achieve this goal," Mr Taylor said.
"In particular, it looks at the cost of a new road linking the Goldfields with the Pilbara and quantifies the savings to transport operators of that proposal."
Mr Taylor said the report had been prepared at a time when the Goldfields was poised to take advantage of Federal and State microeconomic reform of the rail and road transport network.
"The establishment of a National Rail Corporation from January 1 and the lifting of commodity restrictions on road transport operators in the Goldfields from next April will open up the transport industry in Western Australia," he said.
A $16.5 million upgrade of the Leonora-Esperance railway line, work on which is due to start next month, would also impact on current and proposed development in the Northern Goldfields.
"I am keen to see Kalgoorlie-Boulder capitalise on its obvious geographic advantage as the first major regional centre for rail and road transport en route to Perth from the Eastern States," Mr Taylor said.
"A through-freight centre in Kalgoorlie-Boulder would also offer the opportunity to trans-ship containerised freight from the Port of Fremantle to eastern Australia.
"Development of our Northern Goldfields mineral deposits and the Port of Esperance will mean Kalgoorlie-Boulder can complete the loop and service both north-south freight and export routes as well as the east-west link."
Mr Taylor will tomorrow welcome to Kalgoorlie three representatives from the New South Wales regional centre of Parkes, now a major 'inland port' for national road and rail freight.
The delegation is Mr Allan McCormack, general manager of the Shire of Parkes; Cr Robert Wilson, the Shire President and Mr Graham Baxter, executive officer with the Parkes-Forbes Business Enterprise Centre.
"The Parkes experience is one Kalgoorlie-Boulder may well be able to emulate and the delegates will meet with the board of the Goldfields-Esperance Development Authority tomorrow to discuss development strategies," Mr Taylor said.
The Parkes delegation will also meet representatives of the City Council, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Westrail operations and rail unions during their all-day visit to the Goldfields tomorrow.