THE Independent Technical Advisory Committee has met to discuss the Port of Townsville’s $193m Channel Upgrade project.

The ITAC consists of marine experts who provide independent technical and scientific advice and input regarding the development of the Port’s $17 million environmental monitoring programs, management plans and mitigation strategies.

ITAC chair Dr Brett Kettle said one of the important functions of the ITAC was to voice an independent perspective for the community if it has concerns about the project or its monitoring programs, as the Port prepares to begin capital dredging of Townsville’s shipping channel in early 2021.

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“If members of the public have specific concerns about the environmental performance of the dredging, they should feel absolutely free to raise it with myself and I will bring it before the ITAC,” said Dr Kettle.

To date, the ITAC’s role has focused on providing advice about the impacts of marine construction on flora and fauna, and the research required before, during and after the project.

“As we move into the dredging phase, the ITAC’s work will come to focus on a review of the data being gathered via various monitoring programs,” Dr Kettle said.

“Should that data suggest emerging issues, the group will collectively look at it and provide advice to the Port on strategies for managing the environmental effects of the dredging.” The Townsville Port Channel Upgrade is a joint project of the Queensland and Australian governments, and the Port of Townsville. The Channel Upgrade project forms part of the City Deal signed in December 2016.

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