Australia: Government Plans New Channel for Gladstone
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 ‘significant project’ 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’s draft terms of reference about to be released by the Coordinator-General that would form the basis of its environmental impact statement (EIS).
“This project will open up a second channel in the harbour, allowing two-way traffic and more efficient and effective use of the harbour,” Mr Seeney said.
“Essentially 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.
“The Gladstone Ports Corporation has identified this as a key component of a 50-year strategic plan to safely and sustainably accommodate future shipping requirements.”
Mr Seeney said the Port of Gladstone had been identified by the Queensland Government as a major industrial centre for the future of Australia.
“The Port of Gladstone is Queensland’s largest multi-commodity port, the world’s fifth largest coal export terminal, and one of the busiest ports in Australia,” he said.
“The Newman Government promised to build a four pillar economy built on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.
“This 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.”
Mr Seeney said as well as building the new channel, the project involved disposal of dredge spoil and constructing new channel navigation aids.
“Gladstone Ports Corporation estimates up to $400 million will be invested in the development of this project,” he said.
“It’s 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.”
Mr Seeney stressed that timely Commonwealth approvals were a critical success factor for the project.
“The 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,” 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.
“I encourage the community to participate in shaping the outcome of the EIS and provide input to the draft terms of reference,” 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