Frequently Asked Questions

Potential Jetty Users

What will the jetty be used for?

Along with current ship traffic in the Exmouth Gulf, primary users of the port are likely to include the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Border Force and small-to-medium size tourism vessels, as well as the importing of building materials and fuel for locals.

The list of potential jetty users will evolve as community consultation is undertaken but could include:

  1. Cruise ships – Allowing safe anchorage that will enable day or overnight tourist visits to Ningaloo Reef, Cape Range World Heritage areas and Exmouth township.
  2. Private yachts and adventure cruises – Vessels that are too large to utilise the Exmouth Marina.
  3. Royal Australian & Allied Navies – Ships and submarines to allow for provisions, as well as rest and recreation.
  4. Australian Border Force – Patrol boats and Cutters for maintenance and provisions.
  5. Agriculture exports – Agricultural exports direct to Asia from growers in the Gascoyne region and in particular the Carnarvon ‘food bowl’.
  6. Support vessels – Provisions for offshore support vessels.
  7. Break bulk vessels – Import of various cargoes to support the construction and operations in the Gascoyne region.
  8. Cargo vessels – Small scale container exports in the Gascoyne. Import of consumer goods and building materials to reduce cost of living.
  9. Fuel supplies – Periodic visits by tankers to import fuel to replace the Point Murat import facility, as well as provide fuel for jetty users, RAAF Learmonth and supplies for the local community.
How many cruise ships are expected to visit the jetty annually?
In the first year of operation we expect the jetty to cater for eight cruise ships. In the year prior to COVID-19, a total of eight cruise ships visited Exmouth. Only 50% of those ships made it to shore due to coastal conditions and the need for offshore transfers. We believe if 100% of visiting cruise ships can make it ashore then the tourism industry will respond and there will be gradual growth in the number of cruise ships that visit Exmouth, boosting the local economy.
How many other ships are expected to visit the jetty annually?
Potential jetty users have not been finalised however, our modelling predicts that an estimated 77 additional ships will use the port each year, which is equivalent to approximately one ship every five days.
Will live animals be exported through the jetty?
No. The Gascoyne Gateway Board has made a commitment that this industry is not being considered as a potential user of the jetty.
How many tourists is this projected to bring to the region?
There are many variables to consider with the number of tourists including the number and size of ships visiting the jetty. Because the port will provide certainty for a broad range of adventure and expedition vessels, private yachts and small cruise ships, we expect there to be a sustainable increase in tourists over time.

It’s worth noting that cruise ship arrivals are planned well in advance, unlike the current unplanned tourism which is putting significant strain on the community.

Timeline

What stage is the project currently in?
The project is currently in the planning stage and community consultation is underway to understand community views and concerns. Two community reference groups have been established to ensure the jetty meets the aspirations of the local community.

The planning and approvals phase of the project is predicted to take around three years which means construction is expected to commence in mid-2023, with the port due to begin operating in early 2025.

Environment & Heritage

What impact will this project have on Ningaloo Reef?
The location of the proposed project was selected to have minimum impact on the environment. It is well outside the Ningaloo Marine Park and adjacent to a zoned industrial area, over the road from the local landfill and tip site.

The project is far away from the southern and eastern parts of the Gulf that the Environmental Protection Authority recommend for very high protection.

What makes this a ‘green' port?
Gascoyne Gateway will deliver the first ‘green’ port in Australia and is committed to an environmental management approach that regenerates and protects the area, leaving it better than it was before.

Gascoyne Gateway will work to enhance the local and global environments during both construction and operations. This will be achieved by:

  • Introducing better marine management throughout the Gulf to regulate the movement of larger vessels, as well as their associated impacts.
  • Developing regenerative habitat options for local flora and fauna.
  • Reducing long-haul trucks on the roads and road freight transport emissions while enabling a transition to renewable fuel options.
  • Reducing shipping emissions through more efficient freight solutions.
  • Developing a solar farm and battery storage to power the marine facility.
  • Using renewable energy to produce potable water for the local community and to recharge local aquifers.
Have any other green ports been built elsewhere in the world?

We believe there are no other ports anywhere in the world which have built-in the significant number of regenerative initiatives from design and construction through to operation, making this the only truly green port. Many ports around the world only retrospectively introduce carbon-neutral initiatives and regenerative initiatives once the infrastructure has been built.

This has been recognised by Professor Peter Newman AO, from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, who said:

“Gascoyne Gateway is one of the first developments I have encountered that is committed to being a regenerative development. This means that they are going beyond just minimising impacts on the local and global environment, but are setting out to repair and regenerate past impacts. They are also including social and economic regeneration. In my view, this makes Gascoyne Gateway an Australia-first holistic approach to regenerative development. I look forward to seeing how these development ideas are worked through in detail by the local community.”

Are environmental assessments already underway?
Yes. Gascoyne Gateway has commissioned comprehensive baseline studies guided by advice received from the Environmental Protection Agency as per their Guidance Statements. These include water quality, metocean, terrestrial flora and fauna, coastal geomorphology, marine megafauna and the social recreational values of the site.
Are you consulting with the Traditional Owners?
Yes, Gascoyne Gateway recognises the unique relationship between Indigenous people and Country throughout the Gascoyne and Midwest regions of Australia. For many Indigenous people, country is the foundation of their identity, both as individuals and as a community. Gascoyne Gateway acknowledges the Baiyungu and Thalanyi people’s continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pays its respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Historically, Indigenous people’s cultural knowledge of Country has been vital in developing industries across northern Australia including pearling, pastoral, mining and agriculture. Today, Indigenous people and their cultural knowledge have continued to support and drive these industries as well as broadening to other sectors such as tourism, urban development, fishing and environment protection.

Early engagement with the Nganhurra Thanardi Garri Aboriginal Corporation commenced in early 2020 and the Gascoyne Gateway team is committed to creating long-term positive benefits for the Traditional Custodians of the land.

Will vessels enter the marine park at all?

Yes. It is likely that a short crossing will be made through the marine park. This type of activity happens across the world and through regulation, we are able to minimise the exposure. Ships will be piloted during their passage. Not only will this apply to new marine traffic, it will apply to existing traffic, removing a currently unregulated practice occurring outside of visual range of the community.

Will an increase in maritime traffic affect whale shark migration?

No, our modelling predicts that an estimated 77 additional ships will use the port each year, which is equivalent to approximately one ship every five days. Currently there is no suitable place for ships to berth in the gulf so they maintain their position by dropping anchor which damages the sea floor or with dynamic positioning that causes noise pollution. The proposed port will regulate the use of the gulf and remove the current need for dynamic positioning and anchoring, protecting the marine environment.

At the same time, the port will make the gulf safer for humpback whales and other mammals by concentrating any form of movement from commercial vessels into one specific, scientifically chosen, channel. This would reduce noise impacts to the minimum level while also regulating access and low vessel speeds.

Humpback whales are a very adaptive species and the port will not drive them away from their nursing ground or migration path. Around the world there are many examples of whales co-existing with much heavier ship traffic than the Exmouth Gulf will ever see. Examples include Albany, Cape Cuvier, Vancouver, Glacier Bay, San Francisco Bay and Halifax.

How much dredging will be needed, and what impact will that have?

The location of the proposed project was selected to reduce the impact on the environment, including minimising the dredging required.

The project is a relatively small dredging project with fewer than 1M metres3 of sand and limestone required to be dredged at the berth face, all of which will be re-utilised in the construction of the facility or brought ashore so there will be no dumping into the sea.

We will actively reduce the environmental impact of the construction phase by going well above all requirements to minimise piling noise and contain silt or sand flow within the construction site by using floating turbidity curtains.

Will the port damage Qualing Pool?
No, this area is integrated into the overall proposal purely to ensure its protection and regeneration into the future.

Through our engagement with the Traditional Owners and the local community over the last year, we have come to understand the importance and significance of Qualing Pool, which is currently not protected or managed in any way. There are no government resources allocated to adequately manage the area.

We’re proposing to work in partnership with the Traditional Owners to enhance the environmental, social and cultural values of Qualing Pool.

Local Jobs & Procurement

How many jobs will this project create during construction?

We expect up to 400 jobs to be created during construction, with further indirect local benefits because of our commitment to buying local.

With the current pressures on Exmouth housing, how will you house your workers?
Gascoyne Gateway plans to provide sufficient temporary housing to support contracted workers and avoid additional pressures on social infrastructure. It is likely that accommodation would then remain as an ongoing option for transient workers and also for tourism.
How many permanent jobs will this project add to Exmouth?
More than 70 ongoing full-time jobs directly at the jetty and more than 130 ongoing additional jobs will be created in Exmouth because of our commitment to buying local. Gascoyne Gateway is looking to support long-term career options for long-term residents and their children.
Will this be a fly in/fly out operation?

No. Our 70 full time employees are expected to be permanently located in Exmouth

How will you support the local community and local businesses?
Gascoyne Gateway Limited is committed to ensuring the project reflects the aspirations of the local community.

Community members and local business owners are able to partner with the project team on two community reference groups, focused on ‘jobs and community’ and ‘design and environment’.

Gascoyne Gateway is committed to buying local and providing local opportunities throughout the life of the project.

Once operational, the project will provide ongoing benefits to the local community and local businesses, with aspirations for renewable energy and battery storage as a cost-effective electricity solution. The project will also deliver permanent employment opportunities, apprenticeships and workplace development, as well as new opportunities for people to live and work in Exmouth, year-round.

What do we do if we want to express an interest in jobs or supply chain?

Please send any expressions of interest to community@gascoynegateway.com.au

Community Involvement

Have you consulted with the local community?
Yes, community consultation is underway and we have been having meaningful conversations with local residents and business owners about the project. Two community reference groups have been established to provide opportunities for community members to genuinely influence the project from design through to operation. If you’d like to join a reference group please sign-up here.
How can I have a say if I am an Exmouth resident or business owner?

Residents and business owners can stay up to date with the project by signing up for a regular newsletter here.

Exmouth residents are also able to partner with Gascoyne Gateway directly through the two community reference groups to ensure that local views are heard and genuinely influence the project in design, construction and operations.

Exmouth residents can register for one of two reference groups:

Design and Environment
Collaborating to minimise the environmental impact of the project’s design and maximise regenerative environmental opportunities.

Jobs and Community
Identifying the potential for the jetty to support the community through local industry participation, economic diversification, community access and community partnerships while minimising impacts on the community during construction and operations.

Project & Site Design

Why did you choose this location, Exmouth generally and this site specifically?
Exmouth, and in particular its industrial area, has a number of strategic advantages over other coastal towns in the Gascoyne region, which make it the only viable option for the deep-water port and renewables hub. While other Western Australian ports have high tidal ranges, constrained channels, and a mineral export focus, none of this applies at Exmouth.

Not only is Exmouth the closest coastal point of mainland Australia to our Asian trading partners through the Sunda Strait. It is also the closest point to Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands.

The proposed site in the Exmouth Gulf has optimum sea, current and tidal conditions that support maritime activities and provide the confidence for long term operations, while also being close in proximity to the current industrial area, light airfield and Shire landfill site. It is also in a position far enough from the township to not inhibit residential growth into the future.

In our discussions with various local industries, including the import/export freight industry, tourism, cruising, and superyachts, they have all outlined a need for better marine infrastructure in Exmouth, which we plan to provide. Additionally, the location of Exmouth is of particular strategic importance for the Department of Defence and the Australian Border Force, and we are planning to provide the Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines a place to refuel and provide provisions with an option for rest and recreation.

Will I still be able to access the beach near the jetty?

The coast will be retained as Government land that will enable residents and users to continue to use and enjoy the beach and coastline in accordance with management plans for diving, fishing and boating.

How much land will you need for the jetty facilities?
Approximately 50 hectares of land adjacent to the light industrial area has been earmarked for the proposal, with the majority of this land designated for future long-term growth, in particular space for a growth in renewables. Further land on the western side of the Exmouth-Minilya road, saddling the landfill/ tip facility is identified to support a green-renewable future. Ports are a 100-year plus investment, so options to expand in the future need to be considered now, even if they won’t be needed for many decades to come.
How long is the jetty and what depth does it go to?

The jetty will be approximately 900 m long and reach a depth of 13.5 metres at its deepest point. The jetty marine footprint is less than 0.1 per cent of the Exmouth Gulf and 30 per cent smaller than the marine footprint of the current Exmouth Marina. The final design and dimensions of the jetty will be determined in close consultation with the community and following detailed feasibility studies.

What kind of facilities or buildings will be on the landside of the jetty?
The proposed landside buildings will be similar in size and construction to those in the current industrial area. Single-storey buildings will house administration and operations. Storage sheds, water tanks and warehousing facilities will also be situated on the site. There will also be space for a solar farm and other renewables. Concept designs for the landside area are under development and site neighbours and Exmouth residents will have direct input on these plans to ensure that the facility aesthetically matches with the expectations of the community. There is a requirement for a 100m setback from the road that will also provide a significant visual enhancement.

Gascoyne Gateway Limited

Who is on the GGL Board and what experience do they have?
The Company’s Board structure currently consists of five Australian Directors, as follows:

  • an Independent Non-Executive Chair;
  • a Managing Director (co-founder); and
  • three Non-Executive Directors (two independent and one a co-founder).

All Directors are based in Western Australia and have extensive experience in the delivery of infrastructure projects and a passion for regenerative environmental management. The founders of Gascoyne Gateway Limited have worked in the Gascoyne region for 20 years.

Captain Michael Edwards, OAM – Co-Founder and Managing Director
Michael is a Founding Director of Gascoyne Gateway Limited (GGL) and a major shareholder. He is a professional mariner with over 40 years’ worldwide experience in both naval and commercial operational leadership and management, driving innovation and efficiencies to achieve successful business outcomes. In the last 15 years, Michael’s technological and process innovation has delivered outstanding results in efficiency and commercial advantage to a major resources client in Western Australia. Michael is also a Director of Oropesa Port Management Pty Ltd.

Denise Goldsworthy AO – Independent Non-Executive Chair
Denise Goldsworthy AO is the founder and managing principal of Alternate Futures, which she established in October 2013 after a career with Rio Tinto and BHP Steel. She is also a non-executive director and advisor on research, technology and innovation. Ms Goldsworthy is Chair of ChemCentre WA, Gascoyne Gateway Limited and the Navy Clearance Diver Trust (not for profit); non-executive director of Western Power and Leichhardt Industrials Pty Ltd; Chancellor of Edith Cowan University; and member of the Commercialisation Advisory Board for Curtin University, the Cooperative Research Centres Advisory Committee and WA Defence Science Centre Advisory Board.

Who is funding the project?

The facility will be funded by privately sourced Australian investment.

Are there any foreign investors?
No. Gascoyne Gateway is currently an Australian-owned infrastructure project, delivering sovereign capability to the nation.

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