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Queensland contemplates a Port of Bundaberg expansion

Bundaberg, Queensland. Photo: Hema Maps / Jim Wilson

Queensland is looking at increasing the Port of Bundaberg’s commodity base to include minerals, and boosting throughput from an average of 254,000 tonnes a year to one million tonnes.

This could be done by creating a State Development Area (SDA) at the port.

In investigating the potential SDA, Queensland will examine industry opportunities, land use, infrastructure and transport requirements, and the environment.

Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, said the regional councils made it clear that port expansion is a priority project in their Wide Bay Burnett Economic Development Strategy 2014-19.

“This is good news for local industry in both Maryborough and Bundaberg, looking to export goods and produce through the port,” said Mr Saunders.

He said the government will work closely with the port authority, local councils, industry and community to ensure all issues are explored.

Queensland’s minister for ports Mark Bailey said the Port of Bundaberg is the next port north of Brisbane and the state’s only east coast trading port outside of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Development at Bundaberg would escape the restrictions on future port development may be put in place if the local Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 is enacted. That future Act would restrict the expansion of existing facilities along the Great Barrier Reef coast, however, as the Port of Bundaberg is not adjacent to the Reef it will not be subject to those restrictions.

He said the port is well-placed to serve increased commodity bases.

Situated 19km downstream from the City of Bundaberg and approximately 5km from the mouth of the Burnett River, the port currently exports raw sugar, some molasses, wood pellets and silica sands.

Also in an effort to build the port into an economic hub for the Wide Bay region, Queensland is increasing funding to the 24.7km Bundaberg Gas Pipeline from $11m to almost $19.8m.

State premier Annastacia Palasczcuk said the government has reached a fixed-price contract with Australian Gas Networks to design, deliver and operate the pipeline.

The pipeline was announced late last year by then state premier Campbell Newman.  It will supply industrial and residential customers and run from the existing Wide Bay pipeline west of Bundaberg, around the southern and eastern parts of the city and it ends at the Port of Bundaberg.

This article originally appeared in ABHR affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

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