It is disappointing that the Federal Government has indicated that for now it will not match the State Government's $75M funding commitment towards proceeding the Port of Townsville's Channel Capacity Upgrade Project.
Significant additional costs of the channel widening project are a direct result of the State and Federal Government's legislative decision banning dredge material disposal at sea, quadrupling the cost of the project.
The Port's Channel Widening Project is a key priority outlined in Townsville Enterprise's 2018 Federal Budget Submission and is a highlighted initiative in the Townsville City Deal.
The $193M Channel Capacity Upgrade Project is recognised as a key priority under the ‘Port City’ initiative of the Townsville City Deal agreed between the Federal Government, State Government and Townsville City Council. A fundamental component outlined in the landmark City Deal agreement was that all three tiers of Government would work together to progress vital infrastructure in Townsville, not play politics with our economic future.
At present, the Port of Townsville can only accept ships up to 238 metres in length, with ship sizes significantly growing over the past 40 years. Townsville’s channel has not kept up with this growth and is approximately half the width of other major port access channels, inhibiting economic development in the region. By enabling the Port to expand its capacity of larger freight and cruise ships, increased growth in trade and investment and tourism opportunities would be generated for North Queensland. With that growth will come more jobs and increased job security for locals.
Townsville Enterprise acknowledges the support announced by the Opposition towards funding the channel widening project early this year, but just like the North Queensland Stadium before this, we will continue lobbying the Federal Government for a funding commitment. This is a vital project for our region that would drive new job generation, create economic opportunity and encourage business and industry to invest in Townsville North Queensland.