Palaszczuk Government responds to Cairns Port growth calls

Published Wednesday, 04 November, 2015 at 01:11 PM


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

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

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

Treasurer, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Curtis Pitt

New laws about Queensland ports will strike a balance that allows the limited removal of port material and still meets international commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was responding to the Cairns community and its three local members: Treasurer Curtis Pitt, Member for Cairns Rob Pyne and Member for Barron River Craig Crawford.

“This government committed to being a consultative government that listened, and that’s what we have done,” she said.

“We will stand by our commitment under Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan to declare only the major industrial ports of Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point/Mackay as priority ports.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said he would make amendments to the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 when it was debated in Parliament next week.

“The legislation will be amended to reflect most of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary committee, including providing the public more opportunities to have a say about port masterplans.

“Ports North will be allowed to remove a maximum of 50,000 cubic metres of material for a single project, and up to 150,000 cubic metres in any four-year period.

“These limits will protect the Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs it supports and meet our commitments under Reef 2050.

“After four years, we will review how the limits are working for the port, and the Reef.”

Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government recognised the significant role of the Port of Cairns in delivering economic growth and jobs for Far North Queensland.

“I have lobbied hard to secure these outcomes and I am confident they will position the Port to capture new investment for the region,” he said.

“As an example, these amendments will mean that Cairns’ military marine industry can compete for multi-million dollar contracts like the current Pacific Patrol Boat replacement project.”

“This is all about striking a balance that protects the environment and supports economic development, jobs and future trade growth in the Far North.”

Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the dredging plan meant future development at the port could continue and not negatively impact the reef, with port material not to be disposed of at sea.

“The Cairns Shipping Development project is still able to continue through the Environmental Impact Statement process as it was underway before the legislation was introduced,” Mr Bailey said.

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Media contact: Jan Martin 0439 341 314