In a project milestone, over 375,000 tonnes of rock has been delivered to the Port of Townsville for its $193 million Channel Upgrade Project, which involves the build of a 2.2km sea wall. 

The sea wall will eventually reclaim an additional 62 hectares of land for port operations.

More than 70 port staff, rock supply and construction employees are involved in building the rock wall, and more than 10,000 project hours have been completed so far.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, said the port upgrade had created jobs and economic boost for Townsville. 

“It’s fantastic to see the rock wall powering ahead at a time when Townsville, like the rest of the country, needs an economic injection,” Mr Tudge said. 

Part of the City Deal, the sea wall is the critical first phase of a project that will eventually widen the approach channel to the port, allowing ships of up to 300m in length to visit Townsville.

“Off the back of the City Deal, getting work underway on this project is crucial to the Federal Government’s priorities as we rebuild the economy during COVID-19,” Mr Tudge said.

The Federal Government is contributing $75 million to this project as part of the Townsville City Deal, which will see the biggest improvement to the port in several decades.

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said construction of the sea wall is an all-Queensland affair that will deliver far-reaching economic benefits for Townsville.

“Local quarry companies Holcim and HyTec along with Ravenswood Gold mine are supplying 750,000 tonnes of rock, and Queensland company Hall Contracting is building the 2.2km wall,” Mr Dick said.

“The Port of Townsville is a key economic gateway for the wider Townsville region and our investment will ensure the entire North Queensland economy can benefit now and into the future.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said construction of the sea wall was progressing quickly, putting the Port of Townsville and entire North Queensland economy on schedule to benefit from greater capacity and more opportunities for trade.  

“With the first rocks laid in March this year, both the western and the eastern side walls already extend 550m into Cleveland Bay with the works progressing around the corner  to build the northern wall,” Mr Bailey said.

“Close to 800,000 Queenslanders benefit from a strong Townsville Port. That’s why the Queensland Government has already contributed $75 million toward the project with Port of Townsville Limited funding the balance.”

Federal Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson, said he was pleased with the progress being made on the sea wall.

“We know Townsville has been doing it tough in recent years, but seeing the sea wall extend into Cleveland Bay is a visible reminder of the progress we’re making in the economic recovery of the city,” Mr Thompson said.

“We’re working to invest money in Townsville and back key projects that will create jobs and drive the economy – just like this channel upgrade.”

State Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said the Port of Townsville was hugely important for the region.

“It is a vital piece of infrastructure that drives economic growth and generates jobs,” Mr Stewart said.

“The upgrade will help the port increase its capacity which is important for many sectors of the North Queensland economy.”

Construction of the wall will be completed in early 2021, with dredging to widen the channel beginning immediately thereafter. The dredge material will be used to reclaim the land area created by the wall. 

The entire project remains on track to be finished by the end of 2023.

The Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade is a joint project of the Queensland and Australian governments and Port of Townsville Limited. The Channel Upgrade forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.

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