Port of Townsville announced this morning that the construction works on the port expansion program could start next year after the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project was approved by the Queensland Coordinator-General.
The EIS included comprehensive scientific assessments and consultation processes to address key issues, and the conditions placed on the Coordinator-General’s approval include stringent controls to ensure the health of Cleveland Bay is safeguarded.
Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer, Ranee Crosby, said that the $1.6 billion, 30-year development plan would ensure the Townsville Port kept up pace with global and domestic demands.
“The State’s approval of the EIS for the project cannot be understated; it’s a milestone that has been in the making for nearly 10 years,” said Ms Crosby. “By 2045, the Port of Townsville will create up to six new berths, new land for cargo handling, and widen and deepen the channels for bigger ships.”
“The EIS was a rigorous environmental review and project assessment, so we are delighted to have now received endorsement for the project from the Coordinator-General.”
“We are looking forward to getting this vital project underway, and to continue working in close partnership with the local community to deliver best practice environmental outcomes,” Ms Crosby said.
The $193 million Channel Capacity Upgrade will be the first work to start under the Townsville Port Expansion Project, involving widening of the shipping channels to accommodate larger ships.
“Ships are getting bigger, so widening of the channel is critical. This will result in lower shipping costs for freight, and allows larger cruise and defense ships to visit the city, which is great for tourism in the region,” Ms Crosby added.
The Queensland Government has committed $75 million towards the channel works, which will start next year pending Commonwealth approval of the Additional Environmental Impact Statement and finalization of funding.
The Commonwealth Government’s decision is anticipated by 24 October.