Southern Ports review complete

Improved availability of port infrastructure and better decision-making are among the benefits deemed ‘partially achieved’, according to a review into the amalgamation of Southern Ports Authority.

The Ports Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced in October of 2013 in a bid to improve efficiency, reduce red tape, and maximise the ports’ capacity.

The merger took place as part of the port governance reforms in October of 2014, with Albany, Bunbury and Esperance forming Southern Ports Authority.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti first announced the review in August 2017 to assess whether the outcomes of the merger had been achieved and this review was released on Thursday February 22, 2018.

With the benefits recognised, the minister confirmed there would not be a case to de-amalgamate Southern Ports.

The review found higher governance standards and efficiency gains to have also been a benefit of the amalgamation.

Despite the positive findings, the report did uncover minor problems including a deficiency in change management processes and a strong perception that the amalgamation had weakened links with the local community, particularly in Albany and Esperance.

Organisational culture issues were also found, however, they were deemed to be isolated as opposed to systemic.

Ms Saffioti acknowledged the major challenges Southern Ports Authority would face over the coming year, particularly in Esperance, and said the trade changes were outside of its control.

“I look forward to the Port moving forward in close consultation with its employees, port users and the local community to meet those challenges,” she said.

“I will be working through the Board to ensure that the necessary work to continually improve is undertaken.”

The review panel was chaired by Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham, with representatives from the Department of Transport and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.