With more than $50 million in projects currently underway and around $500 million of investment works in the planning, Townsville Port in Queensland will be ready for a trade boom, creating jobs and stimulating growth and investment in the local economy.
Minister for Ports, Mark Bailey, said the announcement, subject to finalisation of an environmental impact statement and business case assessment, would boost trade and create 120 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs and support 8000 more jobs through industry.
“The port is a critical trade supply chain handling around 10 million tonnes of produce worth over $10 billion each year and being able to accommodate larger ships at the Port of Townsville will mean the region can continue to attract major private investment into regional growth areas.
“That’s why the Queensland Government is progressing this project, committing up to $75 million and working through a comprehensive environmental approval process,” Mr Bailey said.
“Demand for cargo laydown area at the Port of Townsville is on the rise off the back of a number of major projects being announced in the region, including the TCCU.
“Cargo for the Sun Metals, Kidston and Clare solar farms have started flowing through the port in recent weeks, with around 400 containers of equipment including 200 solar panels – now being transported to project sites, creating more than 300 local jobs.
“Our renewable energy boom in North Queensland is driving increased demand for cargo laydown space for the import of project cargo, including solar panels.”
Minister assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, said last year $2 million was invested to construct a new cargo laydown area, which has since been heavily utilised to support local jobs, project cargo and car imports.
“Townsville has growing industries and we need infrastructure to support that. This week workers have started earthworks on a ten hectare laydown site located to the north eastern side of the Port to cater for this continuing growth in cargo, supporting our growing regional industries.
“This work is all being done locally by Port of Townsville staff and equipment who are undertaking the work over the next few months,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“The $40.7 million upgrade of Berth four is also on track for completion by December this year, which will double the capacity of Berth four and will be key for accommodating growth in trade, particularly in containers and general cargo.”
Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said the investment in the port was a great sign of things to come.
“In total, these projects represent over $500 million of investment into Northern Australia’s largest container, general cargo and automotive port, and the country’s largest sugar, zinc, copper, lead and fertiliser port,” Mr Stewart said.
Minister, Aaron Harper, said the TCCU project could commence in 2018, subject to environmental approvals and final funding.
“The channel widening work will attract future growth in trade and investment supporting more jobs and lowering freight costs for North Queensland,” Mr Harper said.
Mr Bailey said 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.
Port of Townsville has submitted an Environmental Impact Statement to state and federal regulators for final assessment, and has completed the Business Case for the project.
With the Queensland Government’s $75 million funding commitment, POTL is now in a position to finalise full funding to ensure this vital project for North Queensland and Northern Australia proceeds.
The widening of the channel was a key initiative under the Townsville City Deal between the Queensland and Australian governments, and Townsville City Council.