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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    All hands on deck at critical Northern Ports

    Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
    The Honourable Mark Bailey

    Wednesday, April 05, 2017

    All hands on deck at critical Northern Ports

    A week after weathering the impact of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, significant progress has been made on returning the critical northern ports of Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point to full operations.

    Ports Minister Mark Bailey visited Mackay Port today with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert who thanked port workers who had been working tirelessly across the three ports.

    “As you would expect, there has been damage from debris and flooding in the ports,” Mr Bailey said.

    “But I am extremely impressed with the way NQBP has been working closely with port terminal operators, tenants and service providers to work towards the resumption of safe port operations.”

    Mr Bailey said it was fantastic to see the Port of Mackay re-opened for shipping over the weekend, with the first fuel vessel after the cyclone arriving at the harbour on Sunday.

    “The Port of Mackay is now fully operational, meaning this critical asset is open for business – from fuel imports to agricultural exports,” Mr Bailey said.

    Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said it was also great to see the popular southern breakwater re-open so soon after the cyclone had passed.

    “The recently upgraded breakwater stood up very well to the impacts of the cyclone,” she said.

    The Port of Abbot Point has been cleared for shipping and vessels have returned to anchorages. The port’s owner and operator Adani will make the decision about when the terminal itself can resume operations.

    The historic Bowen Wharf experienced some damage and is closed to the public until repairs can be planned and undertaken.

    At the Port of Hay Point, surveys are continuing to check for siltation in shipping channels and berth pockets. It is expected that limited shipping drawing on existing coal stockpiles at the terminals will resume within days using approved, safe channels and berths.

    “Marine Safety Queensland has previously given the ‘okay’ to vessels off the Ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point to return to anchorage from the outer reef,” Minister Bailey said.

    “However, comprehensive seabed surveys need to be completed and the Regional Harbour Masters give the all clear before vessels will be permitted to return to all areas of the navigational channels, berth pockets and wharves at the Port of Hay Point.”

    North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said that NQBP thanked the HMAS Melville, which responded to NQBP’s request for assistance to undertake seabed surveys at the Port of Abbot Point.

    “These are all important steps in gearing up to commence trading again from these critical Queensland assets,” he said.

    “As is always the case, our priority is making sure people are safe. And we will not compromise the safety of people to re-commence trade.

    “Re-opening of the coal terminals at the Ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point will be a decision made by the private businesses that operate those terminals.

    “Like other north Queenslanders, we have felt the full force of TC Debbie and are working hard towards a speedy recovery.”

    Media contact:

    Minister Bailey: Amy Hunter – 0423 651 484 / Zoe Russell – 0428 079 640

    North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation contact: Ian McGoldrick | Senior Manager External Affairs 07 3011 7910 | imcgoldrick@nqbp.com.au