Port expansion critical to city's future

Date published: 29 September 2017

A key Townsville City Deal commitment has been delivered with funding and environmental approvals secured for the Townsville Port expansion.

The Queensland Coordinator-General has given the green light to the Townsville Port Expansion Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which means work on the $1.64 billion project could start next year.

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the port development would significantly boost capacity for larger ships to dock in Townsville opening up new opportunities for trade, investment and tourism.

“The City Deal is a 15 year blueprint for Townsville and the Port expansion is a key commitment, so I am delighted it’s moving ahead,” Cr Hill said.

“Townsville has done it tough, with hundreds of jobs lost in recent years especially after the closure of Queensland Nickel.

“The Port Expansion is critical to Townsville’s economic resurgence, helping to generate jobs and lower freight costs.”

Cr Hill said the environmental approvals and conditions protecting Cleveland Bay and the Great Barrier Reef are an important step forward, and shows the City Deal is delivering for Townsville.

The Commonwealth Government is soon to commence its environmental assessment of the port expansion plans.

“We must keep advancing and pressing both State and Commonwealth Government to stand up for Townsville and support this vital project to get Townsville back on course,” Cr Hill said.

“By capitalising on our coastal location and improving access, the Port of Townsville can secure its status as one of Australia’s biggest import and export gateways and a hub for tourist cruise ships and navy vessels from around the globe.”

The Queensland Government has committed $75 million in the 2017-18 budget for a channel upgrade which forms part of the first stage of the port’s expansion over the next four years, subject to approvals.

Cr Hill said she expects the Federal Government to deliver on its City Deal commitments and at least match the Queensland Government’s contribution.

“We have the City Deal, we have the business case and now we have the state environmental approvals. There should be no excuse for not getting on with the job,” she said.