Ports North and the Queensland Government have days to complete and approve the Cairns Shipping Development Project Environmental Impact Study. 30 June 2017 is the deadline and we are counting down. To date the study, begun in 2012, has cost taxpayers more than $7.5m.
In 2015-16, the project was hampered by politics and down-scaled to a quarter of the original size.
The public have yet to see the revised project in detail that is well overdue. The public should be aware that under the Queensland Government’s Sustainable Ports Development Act, if the Environmental Impact Study lapses on 30th June 2017, the project will be dead. Cairns will be barred from upgrading its Seaport. The public should also be aware that even if this project is completed, this damaging legislation bans any further capital works dredging of Cairns Seaport.
CPDI Chairman, RON CREW, suspects that the Report, prepared by consultants retained by Ports North, has been 'shelved’ or ‘buried' by the state government, which seems determined to ensure that the port of Cairns is confined to the restricted status of a 'boutique port'.
"We accept that Ports North has done all it can to achieve a measure of improvement in Cairns Seaport's capacity to accommodate larger vessels. For example, the home-porting of the luxury liner Pacific Eden potentially generates six million dollars to local businesses. At least our port is now capable of berthing ships of up to 70,000 tonnes but that is a tiny portion in comparison to the business that may be generated.”
“Today we still have more cruise ship passengers sitting off Yorkey's Knob than arrive into the city's Port. Ports North has increased the number of ships berthing but on average they have 900 passengers and those sitting off Yorkey's about 2000 passengers.”
“Almost all new luxury liners and most naval, cargo and fuel vessels are getting larger. So Cairns Seaport still faces the problem of not having the capacity to handle modern shipping. It was our hope that Ports North’s 'Cairns Shipping Development Project’ report would address this serious shortfall"
"Of special concern is the fact that the shareholding ministers can personally overrule any or all recommendations that the ‘missing’ Report makes. I call on Ports North Chairman, Russell Beer, and his colleagues, to make the Report public without further delay. Mr. Beer will be aware that upgrading the port has the overwhelming support of the Far North Queensland community – and I feel fairly sure he would want the Report to be made public as soon as possible".
CLICK HERE to email Ports North firstname.lastname@example.org, asking for the following:
Dear Chairman, Please release the revised Cairns Shipping Development Project EIS report and make it available to the public without further delay.
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