Construction starts on port upgrade

Townsville’s $193 million port upgrade is underway with the first rocks laid today for its new protective wall.

Start of construction on the 2.2km protective rock wall will ultimately pave the way for up to six new berths.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the upgrade would be the Port’s largest ever expansion in its 156-year history.

“It means cruise and commercial vessels up to 300 metres in length will be able to safely access the Port of Townsville,” Mr Tudge said.

“It’s a massive change that will generate jobs and boost the local economy.”

Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the upgrade would provide a significant boost for jobs and the North Queensland economy, allowing cruise and commercial vessels up to 300 metres long to safely access the port.

“This is the biggest change to the port in almost 30 years and is one that will support jobs in Townsville for decades to come,” Ms Trad said.

“More than 70 port staff, rock supply and rock wall construction employees will be involved in the rock wall construction phase, joining more than 3,200 Townsville jobs created by the Queensland Government as part of its $930.7 million budget for the region.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Port of Townsville is the gateway for projects as far away as Mount Isa and this investment will ensure the entire North Queensland economy can benefit now and into the future.

“We’ve seen trade at the port increase 4.7 per cent with 7.68 million tonnes of freight going through its gates, alongside 16 cruise ships visited the city bringing with them 20,000 visitors,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s why the Queensland Government is investing in a $193 million upgrade of the port channel, $40 million Berth 4 upgrade and $48 million intermodal facility.”

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said he was pleased to see the Australian Government’s $75 million investment delivering results.

“The sooner the rock wall is built, the sooner we can dredge the channel, and start seeing more and bigger ships using our Port,” he said.

“That will only mean more freight coming in and out, and ultimately more money being injected into Townsville’s economy.”

State Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the port is a critical regional hub that drives economic growth, generates jobs, and plays a significant role in Australia's defence capabilities.

“It’s great to see the contractor recruiting locally to help lay at least 600,000 tonnes of rock,” Mr Stewart said.

“When the port is strong, our city is strong.

“Holcim has put on more workers to meet the contract from its Roseneath quarry, while HY-TEC also has a contract to supply rock from its quarry at Calcium.”

The new rock wall will take approximately 12 months to complete, extending approximately 550 metres seaward, with the northern side approximately 1,100 metres in length. 

It will form a protective bund around a 62-hectare reclamation area that will kickstart the Port’s seaward expansion, with construction occurring Monday to Saturday during daylight hours.

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said today’s event was an important one for the project, which is a key initiative under the landmark City Deal between the Federal, State and Local Governments.

“We are immensely proud of the more than 70 Port staff, contractors and specialist advisors that have made this happen. This rock wall construction is the first major change to the Port’s physical footprint in almost three decades,” Ms Crosby said.

The Townsville Channel Upgrade is a joint project of the Queensland and Australian governments, and Port of Townsville Limited.  The Channel Upgrade forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.

Media Contact:

Mr Tudge – Michael Bennett 0434 782 923

Ms Trad – Ministerial Office (07) 3719 7100

Mr Bailey – Toby Walker 0439 347 875

Mr Thompson – Electorate Office (07) 4725 2066

Mr Stewart – Electorate Office (07) 4766 4100