Cairns Port Development Inc. supports a 'new project plan' and the terms of reference for a new plan that includes land based placement options and further background detail can be found at:
DOWNLOAD A PRESENTATION: CLICK HERE
In addition some documents can found below and here is a summary of those:
There are three areas of government activity.
Firstly, the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments raised the Cairns Shipping Development Project in 2012. The Queensland Government funded the project proponent, Ports North.
CLICK HERE to see the original presentation given by Ports North on the project.
The DRAFT Environmental Impact Statement was compiled and released in May 2015.
Secondly, during this time, the Federal Minister for Environment responded to a UNESCO claim that port expansion activities, in particular the bulk mineral export ports on the central and southern coasts of Queensland, would threaten the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage listing. The Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan was devised and off-shore placement of spoil was also banned in May 2015 for the Cairns Shipping Development Project, contrary to the science and reporting in the Ports North EIS and the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014.
Thirdly, the Queensland Government then released the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 that supported current and future capital dredging projects for the bulk export ports but excluded future capital dredging projects for the Port of Cairns. Although the DRAFT EIS for the Cairns Shipping Development Project is current by time extensions, it is dependent of the Queensland Government Ports Minister for its currency. A Queensland parliamentary committee inquiry reported that the Port of Cairns should be designated 'priority port' status to ensure current and future capital works could be undertaken. This required an amendment of the Sustainable Ports Development Bill that was before the Queensland Parliament. We supported the amendment.
The amendment was opposed by the Queensland government along with other amendments that tried to exclude the Port of Cairns from the Act until the project was secure. It was passed on the 12th November 2015 with only a minor amendment that allows for small scale incremental works capped at 50,000 cubic metres for any one project and limited to 150,000 cubic metres over a four year period. Locally, the Sustainable Ports Development Act is known as the 'teaspoon' Act. Commentary has indicated that this is a major setback for the city and region.
To read the proceedings please download an extract from the Hansard recording by CLICKING HERE
1. Ports North DRAFT EIS for the original project
Extract Ports North DRAFT EIS CAIRNS SHIPPING DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: Chapter A4 Project Description. Nov 2014.
REPORT SUBMISSION: Cairns Shipping Development Project Environmental Impact Statement: Economic Perspectives. Response by Cummings Economics May 2015. Submitted to Queensland Government Coordinator General in response to the DRAFT EIS.
REPORT SUBMISSION: Submission to the Co-ordinator General on behalf of Friends of the Port of Cairns supporting the Cairns Shipping Development Project responding to the DRAFT EIS. 2 June 2015
2. Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan
REEF 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, Commonwealth of Australia 2015
In forming the Plan, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 was consulted.
The Outlook Report 2014 concludes:
The system as a whole retains the qualities contributing to its Outstanding Universal Value as recognised
in its listing as a world heritage property. The assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem health show that
the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef Region has good water quality and its ecosystem is in good
condition. In contrast, key habitats, species and ecosystem processes in central and southern inshore areas
have continued to deteriorate from the cumulative effects of impacts.
Cairns Regional Council submission on the Plan, October 2014.
We understand that the consultation period for the Reef 2050 Long term Sustainability Plan had a 1 hour public consultation meeting in September 2014 at the Cairns Colonial Club. The Cairns Regional Council, Ports North and Quicksilver appear to be the only three local organisations to make submission – it’s a shame they didn’t think to speak to Advance Cairns/ Chamber/ TTNQ at that time if they had concerns? The Ports North submission confirms that they contributed towards the Plan, knowing that the ban for off-shore placement and the exclusion of Cairns Port as a priority port was part of the likely outcome.
Below is a copy of the ads that were placed – no mention of impacts on ports, no wonder the business community missed it. If we had the petition and interest we now have, we may have had that Federal plan changed then. There were some 6800 public submissions – it appears to have been fairly widely spread but submissions seem to be overwhelmingly from green groups.
• 87 emailed or written submissions
• 41 online survey responses
• 6681 campaign-style submissions comprising:
– World Wildlife Fund for Nature—6621 submissions
– Cairns and Far North Environment Centre—54 submissions
– recreational fishers—6 submissions."
3. Queensland Government Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015
REPORT SUBMISSION to the Chairman of the Queensland Parliaments Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee by Cummings Economics on behalf of the Friends of the Port of Cairns, June 2015.
"Priority Ports: To not include Cairns seaport as a priority port shows a lack of appreciation of the realities of the Queensland economy and the great economic value of the Port of Cairns to the State. Cairns seaport is a key infrastructure element in the Cairns region that leads Queensland’s longterm regional growth outside of the south-east corner."
REPORT SUBMISSION to the Chairman of the Queensland Parliaments Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee by the Cairns Regional Council, July 2015
REPORT No. 6, 55th Parliament Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee September 2015
Recommendation 12 Page 38
The committee unanimously recommends the Minister considers declaring the Port of Cairns as a priority port following a considered assessment of:
the environmental impacts on the Great Barrier Reef
the economic benefits to the Cairns region, and
the government’s commitments