A down payment of up to $75 million will be provided by the Queensland Budget for the Townsville Channel Capacity Upgrade (TCCU) project, boosting trade and jobs for North Queensland.
Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the Port expansion has been identified in the Townsville City Deal between the Queensland Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council.
The Premier said the project would provide a further boost to the North Queensland economy by:
- Creating 120 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Townsville during construction and support 8000 jobs in industries that rely on the Port
- Lowering freight costs for North Queensland consumers and producers
- Allowing cruise tourism to further flourish by accommodating ships up to 300m
“Queensland had a record year for exports last year with $52 billion in overseas sales,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The Townsville Port is northern Australia’s primary container, general cargo and automotive port. The Port handles around 10 million tonnes of product worth over $10 billion each year, and services 70 per cent of the population in northern Australia.”
Ms Palaszczuk said, the Port of Townsville is an important gateway for trade, and through the City Deal, the three levels of government have highlighted the Port expansion as a priority.
“To progress this project, we have been working through a comprehensive environmental approval process and developing a business case,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Subject to the EIS which requires Federal Government approval, and business case approvals, my Government is prepared to commit $75 million towards the costs of the project, and work to get a matching commitment from the Turnbull Government.”
Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the Queensland Government has made it a priority of the 2017-18 Budget to facilitate economic infrastructure, particularly in regional Queensland.
“The Government is prepared to invest $75 million – $13 million in dividends and $62 million equity injection – for the TCCU, subject to receiving all environmental approvals and securing the balance of funding through the City Deal,” Mr Pitt said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the long-term certainty of import and export capacity of the Port is essential for the region to attract major private investment into growth areas such as new or expanded mines, agriculture precincts and value-adding service industries.
Minister for Ports, Mark Bailey, said the Port of Townsville was a vital and strategic trading port for North Queensland, and that the Port Expansion Project now incorporated on-land beneficial re-use of all capital dredge material.
“Consistent with our Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan commitments, no capital dredge material will be permitted to be placed at sea,” Mr Bailey said.
“This project is one of a number of significant initiatives that will cement the Port of Townsville as Northern Australia’s premier trade and logistics hub, including the Palaszczuk Government’s acceleration of the $55 million Berth 4 upgrade, which will double the Port’s container trade capacity.
“Our ports boost local economies, supporting industry and agriculture, and driving jobs. We will continue to use our public ownership of assets to back regional growth.”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, said widening the channel would not only mean jobs for locals now and but also for the future.
“Once the channel widening work has been completed, we know this will attract future growth in trade and investment, which will ultimately lead to more jobs for locals down the track,” Mrs O’Rourke said.