A strategy that protects the Great Barrier Reef, grows jobs and sustainably develops the state’s port network has been released today.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Queensland Ports Strategy outlines 18 actions that will provide a rigorous, systematic approach to balance economic development with protection of the environment.
“Our Government promised to support growth in the resources, agriculture, construction and tourism pillars of the economy and the Queensland Ports Strategy delivers for all those industries,” Mr Seeney said.
“Central to this strategy is the establishment of five Priority Port Development Areas where future port development will be concentrated.
“The five Priority Port Development Areas will be created for the ports of Townsville, Abbot Point, Hay Point and Mackay, Gladstone and Brisbane.
“Within and adjoining the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the Queensland Government will prohibit dredging for the development of new, or the expansion of existing port facilities outside these port precincts, for the next decade.
“We understand the Great Barrier Reef is unique and special to all Queenslanders and we are committed to its protection for this, and future generations.
“Our approach is consistent with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s recommendations to restrict port development in sensitive reef areas to existing major ports.”
Mr Seeney said the strategy recognises the importance of port capacity to the state’s economy and to provide jobs in the mining, agriculture, tourism and construction sectors.
“We understand that port infrastructure is essential to getting Queensland coal and agricultural produce to market, and this strategy ensures we can meet the future needs of those growing industries,” he said.
“Our government will seal our commitment to port reform through the introduction of a Ports Bill to Parliament. This Bill will provide standalone legislation to enact the strategy’s key actions.”
The Queensland Port Strategy was developed following public consultation on the Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy in 2012, and the draft Queensland Port Strategy in 2013.
Press release, June 5, 2014; Image: Wikimedia