Ports North welcomed today the release of the Cairns Shipping Development Project Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment.
According to the Chairman Russell Beer, the public consultation was the next major milestone for the project, bringing this region-shaping opportunity a significant step closer to becoming a reality.
The Cairns Shipping Development Project involves widening and deepening the existing navigation channel to allow larger cruise ships to berth at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.
The project will enable 1 million cubic meters of capital dredge volume to be placed on land (reduced from the original 4 million cubic meters) at a cost of $120 million and enable cruise ship growth for vessels up to 300 meters with a forecast demand of an additional 70 cruise ships (with homeporting and the Brisbane Cruise terminal) through the Port of Cairns each year by 2031.
“As well as accommodating the larger cruise ships, the deeper and wider channel and relocation of the main swing basin will also enable future expansion of the HMAS Cairns Navy base, improve access and efficiency for bulk cargo and larger visiting Navy vessels, and improve wharf infrastructure while providing increased resilience for the Port of Cairns against extreme weather events,” he added.
Mr Beer also said that the Revised Draft EIS, released by the Queensland Coordinator-General, comprised around 6,000 pages and provided a thorough scientific evaluation of social, economic and environmental impacts.
“I am confident that it contains sufficient information for the Commonwealth and State governments to fully understand the project’s potential impacts in order to make decisions about the future of the project, with particular regard to the requirement for capital dredged material to be placed on land,” he said.
He added that the 14 different land placement sites from Yarrabah to the Barron Valley had been considered. Detailed investigations were then carried out on sites in the Barron Delta and East Trinity.
The report identifies that the best environmental outcome would be achieved by placing stiff clay material on Port land at Tingira Street, Portsmith and the soft clay material in the Barron Delta at the site of an existing sand extraction mine.
Ports North encourages the community to provide feedback and comment to the Queensland Coordinator-General during the public consultation period which closes on Friday 25 August at 5pm.