Bundaberg council should manage the port: Bennett

BURNETT MP Stephen Bennett said Bundaberg Regional Council should be managing the port.

Mr Bennett criticised the Gladstone Ports Corporation's management, and said it had halted several development approvals that could increase Bundaberg's economic opportunities.

"Whether it's fair or not, there's evidence that for some reason we can't quite get these developments to go ahead," Mr Bennett said.

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"We don't seem to have anything to do in the Bundaberg area in the Bundaberg Port that seems to get an easy passage through the approval process from GPC.

"GPC's focus is Gladstone and we want to see another government agency, preferably something like our local government council which has a real drive, a real energy which is doing most of the heavy lifting for the Bundaberg region."

Mr Bennett said he was not advocating asset sales when making these comments.

He said one of the delays he had issues with involved the application of sea towage group Pacific Tug, which was prepared to invest up to $20 million for a multi-boat lift operation once approved.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey visited the Bundaberg Bulk Sugar Terminal yesterday, where he announced a Memorandum of Understanding had been made between GPC and Sugar Terminals Limited, allowing for further trade opportunities.

This could lead to more job and trade opportunities as the port looks to expand its products and increase tonnage.
Mr Bailey advocated the GPC and said it was the right body to look after the port's interests.

"The Palasczcuk Government is very committed to keeping our ports in public hands," Mr Bailey said.

"We're very committed to running them very well and so it's a very special skill to run ports.

"(There's) a very strong representation for Bundaberg on the board of GPC and so I have faith we're seeing the growth happen … in terms of assets here, in terms of partnerships here.

"That's what people want to see.

"They want to see more jobs, they want to see growth, and that's what they are seeing at the port."