DELAYED AGAIN to 31st December 2017

The previous deadline of 30 June 2017 is cancelled. Ports North has extended the deadline for the DRAFT study of the Cairns Shipping Development project FOUR times, once in 2014, twice in 2015 and again on the 20th December 2016. It has taken the authorities about six weeks to tell us that we now have to wait until 31st December 2017. At this rate, we may not see this project delivered until 2020. 

The deadline constantly shifts so what is the point of having it? In 2014, the project was extended beyond the government's election period and it's happening again. You can forgive our supporters for thinking this government continues to play politics by manipulating the outcome to appease Green party voters in Brisbane.

This is costing our local businesses at least $60 million a year in lost earnings, AND THE PROJECT HAS BEEN SLASHED TO ONE QUARTER OF THE ORIGINAL SIZE. The study's cost to the taxpayer is nearly $8 million alone. This is all for a project that is estimated to cost in total, about $120 million to deliver. 

In the meantime, the Townsville Port project is soon to be approved with an estimated $1.64 billion spend on upgrades. Brisbane colleagues, Cairns is NOT A SUBURB OF TOWNSVILLE. Cairns is four hours drive North of Townsville. Cairns Port services Far North Queensland which has the largest regional population in Northern Australia. 

It is too little, too late and we are getting a boutique port whether we like it or not.    





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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, 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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Cairns Post extract Monday January 30 New-wave liners put city on must-see list LUXURY, high-end cruises are making Cairns a port of call.

Cairns Post extract Monday January 30
New-wave liners put city on must-see list LUXURY, high-end cruises are making Cairns a port of call.

The MS Europa 2, considered to be the most luxurious cruise liner in the world, made its maiden voyage to Cairns stopping overnight on its way to Hong Kong. This is the second five-star vessel to pull into Cairns in the past week. The Seabourne Encore stopped over for two nights, leaving Friday afternoon.

Cairns economist Bill Cummings said up to $1 million could have been injected into the economy as a result of the two visits. "These are fairly upmarket ships and the indications from the surveying that's carried out by Cruise Lines International Australia is that for ships like this it's probably up around $300 a day per passenger," Mr Cummings said. He said expenditure was spread over food, shopping and exploring the region. Mr Cummings said there was also the opportunity for the crew to come ashore. "These ships have got quite a high crew component because they're upmarket ships," he said. Mr Cummings said these were smaller cruise liners.

"Until we get that upgrading of the port, there's quite a bit of traffic that is not being able to come in and experience Cairns fully," he said In March and April there would be eight larger cruise liners standing off the coast with up to 19,000 people unable to experience Cairns properly.

Chamber of Commerce president Nick Loukas said the two high-end vessels' visits showed the region was earning increased recognition as an excellent cruise ship destination. "I would anticipate that there would be more and more of those cruise ships coming to Cairns," he said.

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Maintenance Dredging Strategy for GBR WHA Ports

3Oth November 2016: Release of Queensland Governments  

Maintenance Dredging Strategy for GBR WHA Ports 


Science, Standards and Sensibility Prevails at the Port of Cairns. 

This Strategy aims to support and complement existing laws and guidelines by making clear the framework and practices that should apply to maintenance dredging in Queensland. It is not intended to create additional regulatory requirements or layers to what is already a complex and comprehensive regulatory system.

The 'At Sea' placement of maintenance sediment will be continued.

Principle 7 At sea placement of dredge material: Applications to place material at sea will continue to abide by existing National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging 2009 (or any subsequent versions) and regulatory processes, including an assessment of: • all feasible alternative disposal options • sediment quality at both loading and placement sites in accordance with relevant regulation and guidelines to prevent toxic material being placed at sea • how the sites may be impacted, with consideration of the marine environment and other uses of the area • monitoring and management measures to control or mitigate impacts.

Alert: Page 32 of the document has the following information in the footnote No. 3:
At the Port of Cairns since 2010 it has not been possible to achieve the maintenance dredging target depths due to technical specification reasons.

Media Release


Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark Bailey

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles

New ports dredging strategy protects reef

A strong risk-based framework for sustainable, leading practice maintenance dredging of Queensland ports to ensure protection of the Great Barrier Reef was announced today.


Read more
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Navy Chief says dredging needed for Cairns to join partnership

AUSTRALIA’S navy chief has warned the country’s largest warship will not be able to dock in Cairns without further dredging of Trinity Inlet.

Vice Admiral Tim Barrett told a recent Senate Estimates hearing that there were increasing opportunities for the navy in a multi-billion dollar partnership with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), announced in May.

The partnership, which will result in thousands of personnel from Singapore being trained in Australia, will largely be carried out on land but Vice Adm Barrett said there were opportunities for bases such as HMAS Cairns to become involved.

In the hearing Senator Ian MacDonald asked the navy chief whether the ADF was working with the Queensland Government in trying to enable Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships – which are 230m long and weigh 27,500 tonnes – to visit HMAS Cairns.

“The view at the moment is that Cairns would be an area where the LHD may call but, at this stage, I have not indicated it is a port where the LHD will be permanently based, in part because of the nature of its operations to get in and out of Cairns itself,” Vice Adm Barrett said.

“It requires not just dredging the channel but consistency in how often it is dredged to be able to get the necessary draft.”

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Planning for the Future, Ports North Fact Sheet 1

Cairns Shipping Development Project

Ports North Fact Sheet 1: June 2016

(extract from ports North website:

Planning for the Future 

The Port of Cairns is a critical enabler of tourism, trade and defence for the region. The Cairns Shipping Development Project (CSDP) aims to develop Port infrastructure in order to secure a greater share of the lucrative international cruise ship market, enhance Naval capacity and improve Port efficiencies. 

Ports North is continuing to progress the CSDP completing a revised project scope to deliver a new opportunity to expand the Port of Cairns. This new approach will provide significant economic benefits to the Region while supporting future growth opportunities for Cairns and the Region.

CLICK the image below to download the new plan. 


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Economic future of city relies on port expansion





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Cairns Port Demands Commonwealth Support


18 April 2016


Cairns Port Demands Commonwealth Support  

Cairns Port Development Inc. (CPDI), an organisation of concerned citizens working towards the long over-due modernisation of Cairns Sea Port, has urged the Commonwealth Government to accept that it must play a positive role by committing at least $100m to the Cairns Shipping Development Project and partnering with the State to deliver the project.

Prospects of the Cairns Shipping Development project proceeding are heavily impacted by the Commonwealth Governments Reef 2050 Plan ban on offshore placement.  In effect, cost of onshore placement, while potentially being recovered in the long term, will at least double the immediate cost of the project.

Minister for the Environment, Hon. Greg Hunt has stated in correspondence to CPDI that the Reef 2050 Plan does not prevent the Project proceeding. CPDI. has responded by demanding the Commonwealth funds at least $100m to ensure the project proceeds or the Ministers statement appears plainly false and misleading.

 A spokesperson for CPDI makes the following points:

  1.  If the Commonwealth Government does not provide this funding, there is a moral responsibility to compensate the Far North Queensland region for major loss of future income that will amount to billions of dollars.
  2. The Commonwealth Government, despite scientific evidence that the offshore placement involved would not affect the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, made the critical decision to ban offshore placement.  Subsequently it must accept the severe consequences for the development of the Port of Cairns by becoming a partner with the Queensland Government and provide part funding the Port’s upgrade.
  3. The Cairns Seaport also plays a critical role in the wider regional economy. Respected regional business economist Bill Cummings said that "Although reef tourism is an important part of the Cairns' economy, it is not threatened by the deepening of the port”.  “There is a need to take into account the interests of the 80% plus of employment in the region not related to tourism".
  4. Apart from the benefits to the Cairns economy of a more efficient Port for cruise and cargo vessels, making a contribution to the upgrading of Cairns Seaport is very consistent with the objectives of the Defence White Paper adopted by the Government that is reported to provide for further investment in the Port of Cairns as Australia’s strategic north eastern naval defence operations centre, estimated to be $2bn over time and involving the location of 3,000 personnel.
  5. The broader public know how important this project is to the regional economy. Recent professional surveying indicates that there is overwhelming support for upgrading the Seaport with 82% ‘for’ the project.
  6. The recently re-elected Mayor of Cairns, with 66% of the popular vote, supports the Cairns Seaport project as it affects the vital interests of the region.
  7. Upgrading the Cairns Seaport will be a very big issue in the forthcoming federal election.
  8. Cairns Port Development Inc., purposefully established in 2015 when the project began to stall, delivered a petition to the Queensland Parliament, raising over 6000 signatures in three weeks.  It now has over 10,000 supporters who will in turn support federal election candidates that can fully commit to the long over-due upgrade of Cairns Seaport as an urgent matter. 

Cairns Port Development Inc are calling for certainty and a direct investment rather than funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. The organisation is also requesting support for an independent review of the Cairns Shipping Development Project Environmental Impact Study being produced by the proponent, Ports North a Queensland Government owned corporation.


For further interview opportunities, contact: E:

Media contact: Cairns Port Development Inc. Secretary: Emma Thirkell | P: 0417 713634 

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Cairns Port Special Feature Cairns Post: Invitation to take part

You are invited to take part in:


An initiative of Cairns Port Development Inc.

Promoting awareness of the Cairns Shipping Development Project calling for a vital upgrade to a modern seaport for the Port of Cairns.

Show your support by advertising in this special ‘lift out’ feature which will extend to over 70,000 readers. 
An extra print run for broader circulation is also planned.

  • This informative publication will coincide with the upcoming Federal Election
  • The feature will include prominent articles on Fuel, Cargo, Navy, Cruise line shipping and also the wider Marine Industry
  • Most businesses in Far North Queensland are directly or indirectly connected to the prosperity of the Port of Cairns
  • Participation by your business or organisation is highly encouraged to show your support of this essential development that will benefit the Cairns Region  


Phone or email us today to discuss and book your position in this very important feature.


Let your business stand out!

Advertising options

Eighth Page M3X3 - $335 inc GST

Quarter Page M3X6 - $635 inc GST

Half Page M6X6 –$1,055 inc GST

Full Page M12X6 –$1,750 inc GST


Publication date:  Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Booking deadline: Wednesday 25th May 2016. 


Amanda Hargrave

Account Manager

22-24 Abbott Street Cairns QLD 4870 

+61 07 4052 6961 +61 0422 225 936

Follow us online  

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Cruising visitors spend up large in Cairns

Extract Cairns Post 17th Mar 2016: Cruising visitors spend up large in Cairns. 
International cruise ship passengers spent an average of $345.84 a day while visiting Cairns, THE HIGHEST OF ANY AUSTRALIAN PORT!

Comment: The Ports North Chairman said nothing about the ability to increase the size and number of cruise ships in the port by carrying out the Cairns Shipping Development Project. He mentioned the boutique Pacific Eden homeporting but they could be doing so much more. Remember the statements from the Ports Minister and local members last year, that the project is uneconomic. They did not even carry out a full cost benefit analysis on the onshore placement solutions in the EIS.


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