EXCLUSIVE: City Of Kwinana “discounts” overwhelming Fremantle Port popularity as MUA jobs fight continues

The City of Kwinana has “discounted” overwhelming support for a container port to stay in Fremantle, stating there is community backing for a new port in Kwinana.

A WAMN News poll had indicated a large number of people supported the port remaining in Fremantle, but the council said plans for the new port was popular in Kwinana.

The poll of nearly 11,000 people revealed 64% of respondents were against the McGowan Government’s plan to shift the port to Kwinana over 30 years.

However, the Kwinana mayor said the results of the poll were biased.

“It depends on where you run a poll,” City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said.

“If you were to run a poll in the City of Kwinana, you’d probably find 70% or the people would like to see the port come to Kwinana.”

Mayor Adams said admitted that Fremantle Port had not reached its capacity but preparations needed to be made.

“What the government is saying, let’s take a long term view,” she said.

“You don’t wait for something to reach his capacity before you start planning for it.”

She said that jobs was not the only focus of the plan.

“The port is not just all about the wharfies’ jobs,” Mayor Adams said.

“It’s about creating business confidence and all kinds of different businesses relocating to the city of Kwinana, the city of Cockburn.”

It came as The Maritime Union of Australia WA (MUA WA) continued calls to the State Government to reverse its decision, claiming jobs would be lost through automation in the new port.

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s no need for an outer harbor,” MUA WA Secretary Christy Cain said.

“We want jobs, we don’t want robots.”

They also criticised the McGowan Government for not protecting workers.

“You know they’ve done nothing about wage theft in West Australia, we’ve seen rampant, rampant labour hire, undermining the wages and conditions and we’re seeing so many people die on the job,” Mr Cain said.

He also said WA Labor had forgotten where they came from.

“Sadly, the Labor Party was born out of the trade union movement. They forget where they come from,” Mr Cain said.

“They want to climb the greasy pole, and we’re not part of that.”

Political experts claim there is a lack of unity regarding Labor in the union movement.

“They (the unions) find themselves quite isolated to some extent, at least in relationship to the government,” Murdoch University political researcher Dr Ian Cook said.

However, he said the conflict would unlikely affect Premier Mark McGowan in the polls.

“I don’t think this is going to have much of an impact on Mark McGowan’s popularity,” Dr Cook said.

“His popularity in general is so high that it’s pretty hard to imagine anything damaging it at the moment.”

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