THE Queensland Government last week said the $1.64 billion expansion of Townsville's port has taken a step forward following the release of additional information to the environmental impact (AEIS) statement.
The AEIS was prepared at the request of the Coordinator-General to address matters raised in submissions on the EIS, with the public comment period open for a month.
The Townsville Port Expansion Project aims to accommodate forecast growth in trade at the port and address current capacity constraints. The project includes:
- A new deepwater outer harbour;
- 6 x additional berths in new harbour;
- Deepening and widening of existing approach channels; and
- Reclamation of 152 hectares of existing harbour for new berths, bulk cargo storage and a rail loop.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said while the expansion was vital, the projects needs to proceed at no cost to the Great Barrier Reef.
"This $1.64 billion proposal includes deepening and widening the existing shipping lanes, construction of an outer northern harbour of the existing port, six new ship berths and a new western breakwater," he said.
"It also includes the capital dredging of 11.4 million cubic metres of sediment to be re-used to create 152 hectares of reclaimed land for the port. None of the capital dredging material is to be dumped at sea.
"This project could create 174 direct jobs at the peak of construction plus 180 operational jobs, with port annual throughput set to climb from its current 9.8 million tonnes to 48 million tonnes by 2040.
"This Government strongly supports the sustainable growth of Queensland's declared priority ports as long as the growth is environmentally responsible."
Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the Port of Townsville was a state priority port and that the project now incorporated on-land beneficial re-use of all capital dredge material.
"Consistent with our Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan commitments and provisions of our legislation, no capital dredge material will be permitted to be placed at sea," Mr Bailey said.
"Townsville is the trade and logistics hub for Northern Australia. Demand forecasts show the region will grow strongly over the next 30 years.
"This project is about making that possible: there cannot be growth without a port capable of moving the goods and freight.
"We are committed to protecting the environment while building a strong diverse economy to create more jobs for Queenslanders and this project seeks to deliver on both those objectives."