The Queensland Government has begun work on a master plan that aims to optimise infrastructure in the Port of Townsville area.

Queensland State Development Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the master plan was delivering one of the state government’s key election commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the state’s priority ports.

Dr Lynham said, “The process is officially underway with the Port of Townsville and Townsville City Council notified and able to make submission.

“It is early days, but this is the first step towards setting a clear direction for the Port of Townsville while we help protect the reef.”

Master planning at priority ports of Townsville, Gladstone, Abbot Point near Bowen, and Hay Point/Mackay is part of the Queensland Government’s commitments to the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.

Parliament passed legislation in 2015 that established master planning for priority ports.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, said master planning was essential to optimising port infrastructure and protecting the outstanding universal value of the reef.

“The Port of Townsville is a critical northern gateway for the state’s trade and investment and one of the major bulk-commodity ports that operate in or adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“In 2014-15, Townsville’s eight berths handled more than $11 billion in trade, serviced 70 per cent of the Northern Australian population and led Australia in exporting copper, zinc, lead and sugar.”

The next stage for the priority Port of Townsville is to assess key aspects including the land and marine precincts critical to the port’s development, infrastructure and supply chain corridors and environmental values.                                                                                                                                  

This assessment will inform preparation of a draft master plan, which is likely to be available for public consultation by the end of 2017.

Engaging the port authority, local government, state agencies and business and community groups will be an integral part of the process, as well as focusing on the region and its future economic development.

Townsville is the second priority port to commence the master planning process.

Master planning for the priority Port of Gladstone is well underway and a draft master plan is due to be released for public comment by mid-2017.  

Master planning formally starts for Abbot Point later in February 2017, with Hay Point/Mackay likely to commence mid-year 2017.

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