A $120 million upgrade to the Port of Cairns is closer thanks to the finalization of the state’s consideration of the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, today announced the state’s independent Coordinator-General has approved the port upgrades with very stringent reef safeguards.
Mr Dick said that, by 2031, a total of 183 cruise ships are predicted to visit Cairns with the help of the new channel, creating 2730 direct and indirect full-time equivalent ongoing jobs in the region.
“The project will also create more than 195 direct full-time equivalent jobs on average during construction, including professional services and engineering jobs to upgrade wharves at the Port of Cairns, widen and deepen the existing Trinity Inlet shipping channel and install new navigational aids,” he said.
The minister also added that the deeper channel access to the HMAS Cairns Navy base will also enhance the potential for the Royal Australian Navy’s larger ships and US naval carriers to berth in Cairns, enabling future expansion of defense activities in the region.
Increased channel depth and width will also improve the efficiency and safety of existing and future shipping operations.
Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt MP, welcomed the finalization of the state’s consideration of the Environmental Impact Statement.
“The volume of dredging has been reduced by 77 per cent, from 4.4 million cubic meters to 1 million cubic meters, and all capital dredge material will be placed on land, not dumped at sea as once proposed by the previous Government,” he said.
“The reduced dredging volume has environmental benefits, will result in faster completion timeframes and will mean the benefits to Cairns are delivered sooner.”
Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, also added that approval of the Cairns Port upgrade is an extremely positive result for the region.