|The Cairns Shipping Development Project has now been declared a significant project by Queensland’s Coordinator-General with the Trinity Inlet proposal now subject to a rigorous environmental assessment.If approved, the project proposed by Ports North will enable megaliners to access the shipping channels, resulting in what Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney believes will be significant benefits to the local community and the Queensland economy.
“This would be a real boost for Cairns tourism and highlights this government’s commitment to grow the four pillars of our economy,” Mr Seeney said.
“The project is expected to require a workforce of 215 people during its one year construction period.”
Upgrades proposed by Ports North include; the widening and deepening of the existing shipping channel and cruise shipping swing basin and the expansion of the existing Dredge Material Placement Area or provision of a new area.
Mr Seeney called for the community to provide input to the draft terms of reference and stressed that the timeliness of Commonwealth approvals are critical to the success of the project.
“The project involves dredging and spoil disposal and therefore the cooperation and timely responses from relevant Commonwealth agencies will be very important to complement our own streamlined approval approaches,” Mr Seeney said.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry AO has welcomed the announcement.
“The Government’s declaration puts Cairns and the far north on track to achieve the economic benefits of cruise ship visits to the region and its many visitor attractions,” Ms Sherry said.
Citing infrastructure gaps as the main deterrent to cruising’s continued growth in Australia, Ms Sherry sees the upgrade as a sign of the Queensland Government’s recognition of the vital importance of infrastructure to support growth in the tourism industry, local business and employment.
Words: Natalie Aroyan