Oakajee Project in Upheaval, But Hope is on the Horizon

The land is set, the funding is in chaos, and the future of the Oakajee Port Project is relatively uncertain, which poses a number of questions for nearby cities that can stand to benefit greatly from its completion–such as Geraldton. In fact, Geraldton is so close to the new port–a mere 25 kilometres–that if the port is complete, it will yield huge results for the city.

To provide background up to this point, the Oakajee Project has been in the works for quite some time now. While proposed a number of years ago, it was officially revealed that the project, which would ultimately cost an estimated  $6B, was to be backed by the Western Australian Government in late July of 2008.

The operation was to be carried out as a joint venture between Murchison Metals Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation, a yachts and boatsJapanese company, a unison known as Oakajee Port & Rail Pty Ltd.

In the original projections, construction was to begin in 2011 with the completion of the port to be accomplished as early as 2014. This, however, did not happen according to plan. By the beginning of this year, construction had still not begun.

Even last year, a number of media icons and organisations were claiming that the port would not be completed at all. However, WA Premier Colin Barnett, swore that the Oakajee Project would in fact come to fruition.

This resolve was tested earlier this year when the Japanese investors, the Mitsubishi Corporation, majorly cut back its funding for the project due to a trying economic climate and an apparent lack of progress in moving forward with construction of the project.

As it stands now, the future of the Oakajee Project is, on the surface, a grim one. However, hope is not only existent but abundant in the minds of Barnett and other officials.

The Project has still been pledged hundreds of millions of dollars by local, state, and federal governments. As far as foreign interests go, while the Japanese are holding back, Barnett has gone to China to discuss their possibility of investing.   While the Chinese may or may not invest–as their interest in the importation of commodities from Australia has peaked and is now on the decline–there is still a belief that they will invest.  If they do not, someone along the line will.

Barnett is confident that although the timing is subject to debate and circumstance, the Oakajee Project will not only get off the ground, but will grow into a major economic success.

What exactly is there to gain from the Oakajee Port and what will it contain? The port, which will be built on 16,000 acres of land, would be a major centre of trade, both importing and exporting WA’s abundant resources. While being able to bring in a number of goods, the main function of the port would be to transport all of the iron ore being mined in Western Australia, particularly, near Geraldton and its surrounding areas.

With WA’s mining industry still strong, a large amount of iron ore and other metals are being exported. This is not only serving to boost the state economy, but the potential for international trade is great. This is a reason that other countries, such as China, would be interested in the project because it would be in their interest to be able to work out a trade arrangement with Australia.

The railways that are going to be built would also be useful for transporting the metals to the coast from the mines, which are for the most part located more centrally in the state. These lines will connect the mines to the port where they can be easily traded.

In addition to all of the industrial and commercial applications of the Oakajee Port, the project should also produce results on a local level. With the port in place, the local economy would get a tremendous boost due to all of the commerce flowing from it.

Geraldton is the closest city to the future port and therefore stands to benefit greatly from the project. It would likely boost  the local economy significantly and bring more jobs and people to the City and in turn the value of property could benefit from unprecedented gains. This would be good news to anyone living in the city because as real estate in Geraldton grows, so does everything else. An economic boost of this potential would be just what the city needs.

Although the Oakajee Project is uncertain now, with the right kind of funding, it could blossom into a major force that would positively impact all those around it in the near future–and the future looks bright.

Call (08) 9301 4445 to learn more.


  1. Oakajee…….
    The future looked bright 23 years ago.

  2. Rodger James says:

    Having lived in G’ton for 23 yrs, I agree with the article. Additionally, the grain silos, cray factories etc, could be removed, barged, relocated and added to the Oakajee complex along with all the other non tourist works. A short rail from town to the port for workers……..!

    The potential to turn G’ton into a “real” tourist town, with hotels and other tourist attractions is immense. Just imagine the value of the waterfront real estate, potential for cruise ships, yacht races, fishing comps, sail board comps etc, etc. The effort to get it happening is just not being expended by the people in G’ton. The small town “Bogan” mentality, along with the greedy local vested interests, that want to control everything, charge exorbitantly for everything and stymie competition, is the main reason for G’ton being in the myopic condition it is. G’ton doesn’t have vision…..they just say they do!

  3. Localsince1850s says:

    All’s they need is FULL state government Investment in the port and railline not only too peak hill, but all the way to Mt Whaleback\Newman. They should also build a line through Paynes Find to Southern Cross. Initial funding would cost a bit, but in the long run the whole state would have rail and the profits would roll in.
    They may also want to consider a passenger service line from Sworth\Perth to Gero and Carnarvan. Mabee even link this line up to Broome and Kunnunurra. All Talk and no action makes State a dull place.

  4. Matt Woods says:

    Could not agree more with you Rodger, after living here for a few years and seeing first hand the exact situations that you described, I find it difficult to accept how the council and residents can allow it.
    And seeing how many people are leaving the town in droves makes the situation worse.
    Unless the powers that be get on with growing the town, and not just banking on a pie in the sky project – promised by a premier who wants to write his name in the sky forever – and realise that the city will only grow if they look forward and around them.

  5. Colin Barnett, You always said you would help to achieve the Oakajee Project, well, Mr Barnett, we are still waiting years and years later. If you can achieve this promised Project, it will bring in wealth galore to the economy, and the beautiful Geraldton can go forward in leaps and bounds. Please keep your promise Mr Barnett. how grateful Western Australia would be.

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