A proposal to build a vital new shipping channel in Gladstone Harbour will be the subject of a rigorous environmental assessment after being declared a ‚Äėsignificant project‚Äô by the Queensland Coordinator-General.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney called for the public to comment on the project‚Äôs draft terms of reference about to be released by the Coordinator-General that would form the basis of its environmental impact statement (EIS).
‚ÄúThis project will open up a second channel in the harbour, allowing two-way traffic and more efficient and effective use of the harbour,‚ÄĚ Mr Seeney said.
‚ÄúEssentially it will duplicate the existing Gatcombe and Golding Cutting shipping channel from the outer harbour, around East Banks, to the western side of Facing Island.
‚ÄúThe Gladstone Ports Corporation has identified this as a key component of a 50-year strategic plan to safely and sustainably accommodate future shipping requirements.‚ÄĚ
Mr Seeney said the Port of Gladstone had been identified by the Queensland Government as a major industrial centre for the future of Australia.
‚ÄúThe Port of Gladstone is Queensland‚Äôs largest multi-commodity port, the world‚Äôs fifth largest coal export terminal, and one of the busiest ports in Australia,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúThe Newman Government promised to build a four pillar economy built on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.
‚ÄúThis project is an excellent example of how we are laying foundations that will drive the economic growth of the state over the next 50 years and beyond.‚ÄĚ
Mr Seeney said as well as building the new channel, the project involved disposal of dredge spoil and constructing new channel navigation aids.
‚ÄúGladstone Ports Corporation estimates up to $400 million will be invested in the development of this project,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs expected to require a workforce of up to 100 people during construction over 20 months from 2014/2015, and an additional 20 people as part of the on-going maintenance dredging program.‚ÄĚ
Mr Seeney stressed that timely Commonwealth approvals were a critical success factor for the project.
‚ÄúThe project involves dredging and spoil disposal and therefore the co-operation and timely responses from relevant Commonwealth agencies will be very important, to complement our own streamlined approval approaches,‚ÄĚ he said.
Coordinator-General Barry Broe said the EIS process marked the beginning of a comprehensive assessment process which would look at the environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits of the project.
‚ÄúI encourage the community to participate in shaping the outcome of the EIS and provide input to the draft terms of reference,‚ÄĚ he said.
The draft terms of reference are available for viewing from Monday 8 October 2012 to close of business on Monday 5 November 2012.
Press Release, September 26, 2012