CAIRNS Port is one step closer to a $120m upgrade, as the Coordinator General accepted the draft environmental impact statement last month.
The proposed project would include dredging and widening the Trinity Inlet shipping channel and wharf areas, allowing larger cruise ships to call at Cairns.
Minister for state development Cameron Dick said the Coordinator-General’s acceptance of the Cairns Shipping Development Project’s environmental impact statement (EIS) means he can now complete his evaluation of the EIS and finalise his report early this year.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said approval of the Cairns Port upgrade would help grow the tourism industry, attracting new businesses and industries to the area and enhancing existing naval capabilities in the region.
“Any movement towards approval of this invaluable development is great news not only for Cairns, but for the whole Far North and for Queensland,” he said.
Mr Dick said that to comply with the state government’s Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, Ports North proposes to place all dredged material on land.
“Ports North has also reduced the volume of dredging required from 4.4m cubic metres to 1m cubic metres – less than one quarter of the volume of dredging originally proposed in 2015,” he said.
“The project’s EIS closely examined the dredging component of this project, including detailed studies involving vessel simulations to refine dredging depths and assess the impacts of proposed channel dredging activity.”
The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy is assessing the project separately through an EIS process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).