Companies interested in investing in multi-billion dollar projects in Oakajee have been unable to proceed due to a lack of enabling infrastructure at the proposed hydrogen hub site, it has been revealed.
The 2022-23 state budget allocated $6.5 million to develop an access road and a junction with the Northwest Coast Highway in Oakajee, bringing the total investment from the State in draft at $7.5 million.
But roadwork has yet to begin and no additional funding has been allocated to make Oakajee a hub for renewable energy generation in the Midwest.
WA Liberal leader David Honey said companies interested in investing in the site were confident they could attract staff given Geraldton’s “extremely livable climate” but that little could be done as long as the supporting infrastructure was not installed.
“There is no port or other common user infrastructure. I understand that there must be an access road to the domain, but are there any proposals for other common user infrastructure that the state government will support in the domain? he asked for budget estimates last week.
State Development, Employment and Trade Minister Roger Cook acknowledged that the access road would not be sufficient to make the Oakajee Estate “fit for purpose” and ready for the business.
“The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation is currently finalizing a business case to support the next steps of the Oakajee activation program,” he said.
“He was modeled an inch away from his life. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a matter of waiting for the moment when the investments will accumulate from not only a commercial point of view, but also from a governmental point of view.
DJTSI chief executive Rebecca Brown said the development of the Midwest Hydrogen Center has been the subject of multi-agency discussions about the state’s clean energy future.
“The work that’s really been done is around that early activation and, in particular, responding to industry interest through the expression of interest process and working with commercial operators who have an initial interest in operate on this site,” she said.