The Gladstone Ports Corporation will go ahead with the $29.5 million East Shores Stage 1B project after gaining approval from the Queensland Government.

The project will extend the East Shores precinct to include an interpretative centre, waterfront café, a much larger fishing platform, amphitheatre, Gladstone Maritime Museum, and a cruise ship terminal at the GPC’s Auckland Point wharf facility.

GPC Chairman, Leo Zussino, said Stage 1A of the East Shores Precinct was completed in 2014, providing the community with exceptional access to the Gladstone harbour and a world-class recreational facility.

Mr Zussino said, “This new project will be used to extend the parklands and complete Stage 1B.

“The planned Interpretative Centre will be the cornerstone of Stage1B and will celebrate the rich history of GPC, Gladstone’s maritime industry and the culture of the Traditional Owners of our region.

“In addition, the funding will facilitate the construction of a cruise passenger interface at our Auckland Point wharf facility to cater for our fast growing cruise tourism industry.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project would inject new economic activity and new jobs into the city and region.

Ms Palaszczuk said, “This project will generate at least 100 jobs during construction and has the potential to deliver a major boost to the regional economy, especially through the inclusion of a dedicated cruise ship facility to attract more tourists to the city and surrounding region.

“Gladstone resident and visitors already enjoy the world-class, award-winning Auckland East Shores recreational precinct developed on GPC land.

“All of these developments have the potential to expand economic activity and create new jobs for locals, and spin-offs for existing businesses.”

Queensland Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the government backed the GPC’s plans for the $29.5 million development.

“Our focus is firmly on regional economies and creating regional jobs,” Mr Pitt said.

“As a state government-owned business, Gladstone Ports Corporation already has a strong track record as a significant contributor to regional, state, and national economies.

“The East Shores Stage 1B project will build on that record and further diversify and strengthen the regional economy by going all out to boost cruise ship visits to the port.”

Mr Pitt said the project was a timely reminder of the value of keeping income-producing state assets in public ownership.

“If the LNP and Tim Nicholls had their way the Gladstone Ports Corporation would be sold and jobs lost here and throughout the region,” Mr Pitt said.

Queensland Minister for Ports, Mark Bailey, said the East Shores Stage 1B project highlighted the community benefits that would be lost if the port were privatised.

“The Port of Gladstone is a major export facilitator and works with business and industry to help power our economy,” Mr Bailey said.

“But it also works with the local community and delivers benefits such as the existing recreational facilities it has developed.

“Once again, these type of investments would not exist if the port were sold by Tim Nicholls and the LNP.”

Queensland Member for Gladstone, Glenn Butcher, welcomed the government’s green light for the project.

“I especially welcome the inclusion of a cruise ship passenger facility that will be a valuable addition to our region’s tourism infrastructure,” Mr Butcher said.

“Tourism is a significant component of our already diversified state economy and regions like ours have much to showcase to visitors.

“The cruise ship facility will mean more tourists, which means more jobs for locals,” Mr Butcher said.

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