Australian government is planning to amend the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 next week to give priority status to major industrial ports in Queensland.
According to Australian politician and current Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, these will include the ports of Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point/Mackay.
The port of Cairns, Port North, on the other hand, would be left out from this list.
However, State Development Minister, Anthony Lynham, said that Ports North would in turn be dredged as part of the continued port development project.
Lynham added that the port “will be allowed to remove a maximum of 50,000 cubic metres of material for a single project, and up to 150,000 cubic metres in any four-year period.”
“These limits will protect the Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs it supports and meet our commitments under Reef 2050.”
After a four-year period, the limits would be reviewed to see how they are affecting the port and the Great Barrier Reef, he commented.
Ports Minister Mark Bailey added:
“The Cairns Shipping Development project is still able to continue through the Environmental Impact Statement process as it was underway before the legislation was introduced.”
The Cairns Shipping Development Project aims to enhance port capabilities to meet the world’s growing cruise itineraries and to accommodate the new class of cruise vessels known as mega class ships.
Queensland ports play a crucial role in the growth of the Queensland economy with 11 trading ports operating adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). These are located at Gladstone, Rockhampton (Port Alma), Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point, Townsville, Lucinda, Mourilyan, Cairns, Cape Flattery and Quintell Beach.
Image: Google Maps