QUEENSLAND State Development Minister Anthony Lynham last week said a major boost for Townsville's economy and tourism industry is a step closer following a key approval for the Port's $1.64 billion expansion.
Dr Lynham said the Coordinator-General's approval of the port expansion includes conditions that addressed all concerns over environmental and social impacts.
"The Coordinator-General has been working closely with the Port of Townsville to ensure all potential social and environmental impacts were addressed in the evaluation report, and comprehensive conditions set to manage potential impacts on Cleveland Bay in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area," the Minister said.
The Townsville Port Expansion Project involves four key elements:
- Capital dredging of 11.48 million cubic metres of sediment to widen and deepen the Sea and Platypus Channels and an expanded harbour basin;
- Establishing a 152-hectare reclamation area;
- Construction of 4 kilometres of rock revetments and potentially a new 700-metre western breakwater; and
- Construction of six new berths.
Dr Lynham said the announcement means the project is a step closer, "which in turn means expanded capacity at the port, which will allow the one-quarter of cruise ships which cannot currently enter the port to berth at Townsville, increasing tourism numbers and revenue for the region."
The Queensland Government has already committed $75 million in the 2017-18 budget for a channel upgrade which forms part of the first stage of the port's expansion over the next four years, subject to approvals.
The next stage is the Commonwealth Government's assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity ConservationAct 1999, including any potential impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.