A voluntary scheme to buyback residential properties in Port Hedland's West End has been extended for a further two years.
The Port Hedland Voluntary Buyback Scheme (PHVBS) was established to assist in the implementation of the Government's response to the 2018 Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce Report, and enables the State Government to purchase residential properties to reduce land use conflicts with Port users.
The Government Response to this report also led to the establishment of the Port Hedland West End Improvement Scheme No 1 where permanent residential use is no longer permitted.
Almost 60 per cent of the eligible properties have been purchased, or are in the process of being purchased, by the Hedland Maritime Initiative (HMI), a subsidiary company of the Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA).
The Government is extending the scheme for a further two years to 31 December 2025, with some changes to its operational terms, to stimulate increased take-up by property owners.
The type of properties eligible under the PHVBS will be expanded to include certain non-residential properties located on lots which are otherwise fully eligible - for example shopfront businesses, or short stay accommodation operations in residential apartment blocks.
The valuation mechanism used to determine a fair price for property owners selling their properties will also be modified.
At present, valuation is based on the 2019 benchmark amount, with a 35 per cent premium, plus an annual increase of between zero and four per cent, as determined by an independent valuer. This will be modified so that any future downturn in market value for properties in the Town of Port Hedland will be reflected in the price offered. Annual increases will remain capped at four per cent.
Funding for the property purchases is provided solely by iron ore exporters - via a special levy on all iron ore tonnes shipped through the port of Port Hedland. Funds collected will also be used for minor works to improve properties acquired by HMI.
During the next phase of the scheme, planning for the redevelopment of the West End precinct will begin. The WA Planning Commission, supported by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, will facilitate the progression of structure planning, in line with the provisions of the Improvement Scheme.
Funding from the PHVBS will be available for future development in the Town of Port Hedland, with an initial contribution of $22 million.
The scheme will continue to be administered by HMI, but will be overseen by a locally constituted steering committee to be chaired by the Pilbara Development Commission.
This steering committee will include PPA, the Town of Port Hedland, and the Port Hedland Industries Council; and they will report to the responsible Ministers for Ports and for Planning.