A STATE parliamentary inquiry is considering reform for coastal shipping in the Queensland context, transport minister Mark Bailey says.

Speaking at the Australian Potts Business and Operations Conference in Townsville, Mr Bailey also urged the federal government to step up.

“Queensland ports play a significant role in the distribution of freight domestically with our intra and interstate sea freight, typically accounting for about 40% of national coastal shipping volumes,” the minister told delegates.

“While the shipping of bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone comprises most of the state’s intrastate shipping task, it is also important to recognise the role that ports and coastal shipping plays.

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“They ensure that Queensland’s most remote communities up in Cape York and across the Torres Strait have access to the essentials such as food and fuel.”

Mr Bailey said the state parliamentary inquiry was examining “a sustainable and intrastate shipping industry in Queensland”.

“While we consider the recommendations of the inquiry we also need leadership from the Australian government to ensure that the Australian shipping industry and coastal shipping have a sustainable future,” he said.

“Maintaining the sustainability of our supply chains, serving the ports from land and sea remains a continuous challenge.”

Mr Bailey noted the value of coastal shipping in keeping supply chains open, with the Flinders and Mt Isa Highways cut earlier in the year in “an unprecedented major flooding event”.

The minister also spoke about a “strategic blueprint” for the state’s north-west minerals province.

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