New laws about Queensland ports will strike a balance that allows the limited removal of port material and still meets international commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the government was responding to the Cairns community and its three local members: Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Member for Cairns Rob Pyne and Member for Barron River Craig Crawford.
State Development Minister Dr. Anthony Lynham said that he would make amendments to the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 when it was debated in Parliament next week.
“The legislation will be amended to reflect most of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary committee, including providing the public more opportunities to have a say about port masterplans,” he said.
“Ports North will be allowed to remove a maximum of 50,000 cubic meters of material for a single project, and up to 150,000 cubic meters 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 four years, we will review how the limits are working for the port, and the Reef.”
Ports Minister Mark Bailey said that the dredging plan meant future development at the port could continue and not negatively impact the reef, with port material not to be disposed of at sea.
“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,” Mr Bailey concluded.