Approval of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the scheme means that preliminary works on Stage 1, the AU$193m (£109m) channel widening project, could kick off before April, subject to a final funding agreement.
Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said the AU$1.64bn (£925m), 30-year development plan would ensure the port could expand to allow it to become globally competitive. “After nearly ten years in the planning phase, our team is looking forward to getting works under way to widen the shipping channels into the Townsville Port,” she said. Ships are getting bigger and so the widening of the channel is seen as critical to the future viability of the Port of Townsville. At the moment Townsville cannot accept ships longer than 238m in length, which by today’s global standards is completely inadequate, she said.
The port will fund AU$43m for the channel capacity upgrade, the Queensland government has confirmed a AU$75m funding commitment and has sought a matched AU$75m contribution from the federal government for the project to proceed.
"We are working closely with the Queensland and federal governments on final funding arrangements so we can get this project under way, creating local jobs, and continuing to work in close partnership with the local community to deliver best practice environmental outcomes,” said Crosby.