Lack of infrastructure remains barrier to investment at Oakajee, north of Geraldton

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
The site of the proposed Oakajee Port, 22km north of Geraldton.
Camera IconThe site of the proposed Oakajee Port, 22km north of Geraldton. Credit: Supplied/Contributed

Companies interested in investing in multi-billion dollar projects at Oakajee have not been able to proceed due to the lack of enabling infrastructure at the site of the proposed hydrogen hub, it has been revealed.

The 2022-23 State Budget has allocated $6.5 million to the development of an access road and junction with North West Coastal Highway at Oakajee, bringing the State’s total investment in the project to $7.5m.

But road works have yet to begin and no additional funding has been allocated to establishing Oakajee as a hub for renewable energy production in the Mid West.

WA Liberal Leader David Honey said companies interested in investing in the site were confident they could attract staff given the “extremely liveable climate” of Geraldton, but little could be done until supporting infrastructure was installed.

“There is no port and no other common-user infrastructure. I appreciate that there has to be an entrance road to the estate, but are there any proposals for other common user infrastructure that the State Government will support in the estate?” he asked Budget estimates last week.

Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade Roger Cook recognised the access road would not be enough to make the Oakajee estate “fit for purpose” and ready for business.

“The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation is currently finalising a business case to support the next steps in the Oakajee activation program,” he said.

“It has been modelled within an inch of its life. Ultimately, I think it is really just waiting for that point when the investments stack up from a not only commercial, but also government point of view.”

DJTSI director-general Rebecca Brown said the development of the Mid West hydrogen hub had featured in multi-agency discussions about the State’s clean-energy future.

“Really the work that has been done is around that early stage activation and, in particular, responding to industry’s interest through the expression of interest process and working with those commercial operators that have an initial interest in operating at that site,” she said.

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