Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt announced last week a $120 million state budget commitment for the Trinity Inlet dredging project.
According to Treasurer Curtis Pitt, this week’s Budget will provide funding certainty to undertake the long-awaited Cairns Shipping Development Project (CSDP), subject to Ports North finalizing and lodging their amended and re-scoped Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the Cordinator-General, expected later this month.
“If the project receives all relevant environmental approvals, it will be strictly managed under the Government’s world-leading Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, which prohibited sea-disposal of dredge material,” added Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
“Our government recognized that the Port of Cairns supports significant economic activity which is why we provided special consideration for it in our sustainable port development framework. The scope of the project was revised to significantly reduce the environmental footprint and dredging requirements, with spoil to be placed on land, and the cost of the project also reduced to approximately $120 million,” said Curtis Pitt.
He also said that the project has been rescoped to reduce the amount of dredging required and for reducing its impacts and the overall by up to one-third of the cost of the LNP’s original estimate of over $360 million. “And we’re doing it responsibly to avoid the risk of impact on our greatest asset – the Great Barrier Reef and we’ll see only a quarter of the dredge spoil under the LNP’s proposal,” he said.
Ports North is proposing to undertake the Shipping Development Project including making the current Trinity Inlet channel and swing basin wider and deeper to allow larger ships to access the port.