For the first time since 2013, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) is set to commence maintenance dredging at the Port of Mackay.

Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said it was an important task for the port, which saw 195 shipping movements during the last financial year, recording its second-best result of 3.17 million throughput tonnes, despite COVID-19.

“Additionally, the project will support 20 jobs during the project from ship crew to surveyors – jobs vital as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“Making sure our ports and waters remain safe and navigable is vital to our region’s supply chain and its $17 billion economy.

“Projects like this add to the Palaszczuk Government’s major investments at our port, plus road projects like the $120 million Mackay Northern Access Upgrade as well as the Walkerston Bypass.”

NQBP Chief Executive Office, Nicolas Fertin, said maintenance dredging is important to ensure efficient navigable shipping depths for port users.

“In the same way we maintain roads and rail lines for freight transport, we need to look after our port infrastructure to keep trade flowing,” Mr Fertin said.

“This was achieved despite the global impact of COVID-19, demonstrating the importance of the Port’s role in the Queensland economy supporting jobs and industry in the region.”

NQBP will continue to engage with key stakeholders including the Mackay Technical Advisory and Consultative Committee (TACC) as the project progresses. Members of the TACC include conservation groups, Traditional Owners, scientists, community, port users, and Federal and the State Governments.

NQBP has the relevant federal and state maintenance dredging permits in place for the program. NQBP staff and contractors will work within these permits, which outline strict environmental conditions. 

Dredging will be undertaken in line with the Queensland Government Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports.

While the dredging will have a low impact on port operations and community activities, Mr Fertin asked that everyone using the Mackay Marina take extra care when on the water during the dredging works.

“The dredge vessel TSHD Brisbane and its support vessels have restricted manoeuvring capability,” Mr Fentin said.

“We urge people on the water to pay close attention to displayed warning flags and lights.”

The TSHD Brisbane will also make frequent return trips from the Port to the approved offshore disposal location near Slade Island.

NQBP has managed the maintenance dredging program at the Port of Mackay for more than 60 years.

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