What can 10 kilometres of road can mean for the WA and NT Transport industry?

On Monday, we run a joint transport industry forum with the East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce.  Which for the transport companies that came along, was a total bonus as they got to chew the fat and network with business and industry leaders they normally wouldn’t meet.  And from the sounds of the conversations going on, they were generating business leads for their transport companies.

How a Project Creates Multiple Transport Jobs

Project Sea Dragon is a $1.45 billion prawn aquaculture project will involve the construction of up to 10,000 hectares of land into a black tiger prawn farm. This will be located on the NT WA border on Legune Station just over the NT border from Kununurra WA.

In total there will be 1500 jobs across all locations involved in the project, but our focus is on Kununurra.

In Kununurra it is forecast to create 125 long term jobs at a processing plant.  Ok, processing jobs are transport jobs, but here is another way to think about it.

At full production there will be a 100,000 tonnes of prawns produced and processed.  That means

  • Transport of 150,000 tonnes of prawn food to the Keep River prawn farms;
  • Plus transport from the prawn farms to Kununurra;
  • Plus transport from processing plant in Kununurra to Darwin or Wyndham harbour.

But it also means that up to 600 additional jobs are created based on a 4 times multiplier that economist use.   Quite simply the employment multiplier measures the amount of direct, indirect and induced jobs created (or lost) in the area. Direct jobs are related to the specific industry, while indirect jobs are those that support the industry. Induced jobs are those that are a result of direct/indirect employee’s spending money in the community. 

So what does that mean for Transport?

Well all those additional jobs are going to need supplies to be transported in to Kununurra, either from Darwin or Perth.  That means opportunity for you.

  • Jobs create population growth that means construction – good for construction transport.
  • That also means more groceries and retail items being transported to the shops.
  • More coffee, milk, bread etc deliveries to support cafes and restaurants.
  • It also means more courier deliveries as regional people seem to enjoy online shopping.
  • Also more removals of families in and out.
  • And it also means more waste collection and disposal
  • And the list goes on, you could know doubt think of a lot of transport tasks that I have missed.  Including all the freight and transport tasks needed to support the growth of prawn food (maize etc).

So Where Are We Now?

The NT Government is keen on the project and have invested $56 million to support infrastructure, including $17.5 million for the upgrade the Keep River Plains Road to ensure year round access between Kununurra and Legune Station.

However the WA Government has not committed to upgrade the 10 kilometres of road on our side.  But before getting to critical, it is actually fair enough as the investors have not yet given final sign off to the project. 

But if and when the project is signed off, that 10 kilometres of road on the WA side will create a large road transport task for multiple sectors of our industry. 

The Point

The point of this whole article is to make you think, about how one project can create so much opportunity for everyone in the industry, not just the headline acts of bulk haulage out. It is worth noting, that increasingly we are being brought into projects much earlier as companies and governments look to the transport industry for advice and assistance in planning.  That is a good thing for our members.

This article was an opinion piece in WA Transport Magazine Jan/ Feb 19

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