Transport infrastructure is the backbone of the South West's strong economic growth.
Extensive road, rail and port facilities have accommodated the demands of industry and seen the South West become the State's regional economic powerhouse.
But the time has come for upgrades to the current transport infrastructure network.
The South West Development Commission, Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance, Bunbury Port Authority and The Chamber of Minerals & Energy WA have developed a plan for the region's future transport infrastructure needs.
Roads to Export: Infrastructure Investment Plan presents a case for investment in local port-linked transport infrastructure to cope with future industry and population growth.
The region is linked by modern bitumen-sealed roads and highways with transit time from Western Australian capital Perth to the South West centre of Bunbury only about two hours by road.
Major roads include the Forrest Highway, South Western Highway, Coalfields Highway and Bussell Highway.
The Forrest Highway, which opened in September 2009, has reduced road travel time between Perth and the City of Bunbury by about 30 minutes, bringing with it immeasurable long-term economic benefits.
Work on enhancing the South West's road network is continuing. For example, in February 2012 the State Government announced the contract to design and construct the $133.9million second stage of the Bunbury Port Access Road.
The $36.1m first stage of the Bunbury Port Access Road, Willinge Drive between the port and Picton, was opened to traffic early in 2010.
The second stage of the project, which is expected to be completed in March 2013, will see Willinge Drive extended from Picton to the Bunbury Outer Ring Road and the Bunbury Outer Ring Road constructed between South Western Highway and the Boyanup-Picton Road.
The Bunbury Port Access Road project forms part of a planned expansion of the road network, which includes the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, to cater for future growth of traffic on the road network and facilitate development of the Bunbury Port and South West industry.
The rail network is a significant transport system within the South West.
Bunbury is the centre of the network, which connects to towns and industry areas in the region, and the Perth metropolitan area.
The Australind passenger service operates a regular, seven-day per week service between Bunbury and Perth.
This service provides a valuable social role as well as providing support to the tourist industry.
Railway lines carry bulk commodities such as coal and alumina from the South West region to the Bunbury Port.
Located within the protected waters of Koombana Bay, the Bunbury Port is strategically situated close to the South West's mining, manufacturing, agricultural and pastoral areas.
It is well-equipped and capable of distributing a variety of products from the region world-wide.
The port currently consists of seven berths and an inner and outer harbour, with depths up to 9.1 metres at the Outer Harbour and 12.2 metres at the Inner Harbour.
The Inner Harbour is serviced by a narrow gauge rail line and has road transport access, whereas the Outer Harbour is serviced by road transport only.
The South West region is serviced by a regional airport located 6.5km from the town centre of Busselton. It is 220 kilometres south, south west from the Perth International Airport and used for a variety of purposes including transporting fly-in, fly-out workers to operations located in other areas of the State.
As well as the Busselton Regional Airport, which is owned and operated by the Shire of Busselton, light aircraft can use an airport at Bunbury and sealed airstrips around the region including at Collie, Manjimup and Margaret River.
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Alumina is carted by rail and exported through the Bunbury Port. Worsley Alumina's current expansion will increase the amount of alumina exported through the port and increase imports.