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    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Anthony Lynham

    New laws will protect Reef, boost ports - Lynham

    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Anthony Lynham

    Wednesday, June 03, 2015

    New laws will protect Reef, boost ports - Lynham

    Legislation introduced to Parliament today will boost economic development around Queensland’s four regional priority ports and help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

    Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the Sustainable Ports Development Bill, the first of its kind in Australia, would boost ongoing development at the key export ports Townsville, Abbot Point, Gladstone, and Mackay Hay Point/Mackay and protect the Reef.

     “The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on our election and Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan commitments to protect the reef by banning sea-based disposal of capital dredged material from ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and restricting port-related capital dredging,” Dr Lynham said.

     “At the same time, we are supporting economic development, investment and job creation by master planning these priority ports and their precincts.

     “The Queensland economy relies on our ports, particularly these four major bulk commodity ports in and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

     “This Bill gives us the balance we need.

    “Importantly, it also enshrines public consultation in the port master planning into the future, the first Australian state to do this, so the people of Queensland and the wider community will have a say in the future sustainable development of major ports operating in and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”

     The Bill will:

    • prevent disposal of capital dredge spoil from ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
    • stop development of new ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
    • mandate master plans for all four priority ports, supporting further local development and investment.

    Dr Lynham said master planning would make the port precincts more attractive to potential developers and investors.

    “Port master planning considers marine and land-based impacts, port and supply chain capacity and connectivity, and environmental and community values,” he said.  

    “It protects sensitive environmental areas, as well as areas that support community needs like boat ramps and recreation areas.  

    “Master planning also protects areas for future essentials that a growing port will require, such as corridors for roads, rail lines, gas and water pipelines and power lines.

    "It helps make port precincts a more attractive development option, by giving greater certainty to potential investors.”

    The priority ports, Townsville, Abbot Point, Gladstone, Hay Point/Mackay, represent trade worth $32 billion and shifted 77 per cent of the total throughput of all Queensland ports in 2013-2014.

    Dr Lynham said the government also stood by its election commitment to protect the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay and North Curtis Island and Port Alma. 

    “Port Alma will not be included in the priority port of Gladstone,” he said.

    Master planning starts for Gladstone and Abbot Point later this year, and next year for Hay Point/Mackay and Townsville.

    The bill will now go to the committee as part of the regular parliamentary process and be open to submissions from the public before being debated in the future.