Structure of ports backed

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

A report released on Thursday has recommended the Southern Ports structure remains.

The report found that the expected benefits of amalgamation had been partially realised and Southern Ports was working to achieve further benefits.

The report comes after Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced a post-implementation review in August 2017, almost three years on from the merger of the Albany, Bunbury and Esperance port authorities in October 2014.

Member for Albany Peter Watson has written to Minister Saffioti asking her to readdress the review, with concerns over issues such as bullying and loss of community connection.

“I feel we had one of the best ports in Western Australia and we had the best CEO and harbour-master, and both of them are gone now,” he said.

“We lost our local board and I think we have lost the local content.

“My main issue is there were submissions put in for bullying and they weren’t addressed because that wasn’t part of the terms of reference.”

Southern Ports currently has a general manager who is shared between the Albany and Bunbury ports.

The review included a recommendation that Southern Ports considers having separate, locally based general managers for each port, noting this may require the general manager roles to be combined with another function in order to justify full-time positions.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the review was tabled in Parliament only on Thursday and, unfortunately, Mr Watson was not present.

“It’s important to note the report does acknowledge isolated evidence of cultural issues, which are being addressed through various measures, including a cultural change action plan and leadership training,” he said.

“The board of SPA has ensured any allegations have been comprehensively investigated and where complaints have been made to the minister’s office, it has been referred to bodies like the Public Sector Commission.”

Chief executive Nicolas Fertin said Southern Ports would address the recommendations to find the best option.

“I welcome the completion of the review and look forward to working through the recommendations as part of Southern Ports business plan,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails