Queensland Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey.
Queensland Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey.

On the dotted line: State set to sign $10m port agreement

The State Government is expected to sign an agreement locking in $10 million for new trade opportunities at the Bundaberg Port.

After agreeing to the finer details, including protecting Queensland’s GST share, the State will sign the paperwork for the Common User Infrastructure Project, which will use the existing Bulk Sugar Terminal Wharf and shiploading facilities to export and import new products.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey made the announcement after the Palaszczuk Government announced another $1 million would be invested in the port to develop a new facility for the storage of dry bulk commodities.

“The Bundaberg Port has more than doubled its trade in the last decade and we want to see it capitalise on that growth to become a major hub for Australia’s $74 billion maritime industry,” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s why we’ve kept the port in public hands, and it’s why we’re developing the port to drive new opportunities in new industries.”

PORT PLANS: Minister Mark Bailey, Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith and Pacific Tug Group CEO Chris Peters at the Port of Bundaberg.
PORT PLANS: Minister Mark Bailey, Bundaberg Labor candidate Tom Smith and Pacific Tug Group CEO Chris Peters at the Port of Bundaberg.

Once the agreement is finalised, work can begin on the Common User Infrastructure Project.

A Gladstone Ports Corporation spokesperson said the funding for the project was part of the Federal Governments Hinkler Deal, consisting of $10.75m ($10m for a permanent conveyor and up to $0.75m for an outer harbour pre‑feasibility study).

When asked what this agreement would mean for the local port, the spokesperson said the development of materials handling infrastructure that includes conveyors and distribution points would compliment and expand the capability of existing facilities to diversify port trade and unlock the economic potential of the Wide Bay region.

The spokesperson said this opportunity would bring jobs, growth and international trade for Queenslanders.

“The region is well placed to take advantage of the considerable economic development opportunities emanating from changing global and national markets,” the spokesperson said.

“The CUI will provide a prudent, efficient, flexible and safe export option for a variety of products and customers.

“GPC has collaborated with the state, industry and the Wide Bay Region of Councils via a number of studies that examined the unlocking of opportunities for the region.

“GPC remains focused on increasing throughput, improving prosperity for industries that trade through the port, ensuring we positively contribute to the region, future-proofing Bundaberg, and positioning the port as a prospect for major industry.”

DRONE: Bundaberg Port. (Photo taken 30 March 2020)
DRONE: Bundaberg Port. (Photo taken 30 March 2020)

The NewsMail understands a marine precinct, expanded minerals trades, new manufacturing and renewable energy are key focus areas for GPC.

Gladstone Ports Corporation and Sugar Terminals Limited entered into a memorandum of understanding in September 2019, which investigated the technical and economic benefits of planned Common User Infrastructure at the port.

The business case developed by GPC expanded on the preliminary options assessment undertaken by GPC and the Department of State Development Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning.

The spokesperson said the business case was currently subject to government approvals.

This announcement from Mr Bailey follows the completion earlier this month of the $5.3 million Bundaberg Port road upgrade, which will improve access for trucks heading to and from the maritime hub.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented level of interest from businesses like Knauf and Pacific Tug because of ongoing investment in the port,” he said.

Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government would keep the Port of Bundaberg in public hands, ensuring future investment and securing jobs in the region.

ROAD TO SAFETY: Buss and Newman St upgrade Port Bundaberg. PHOTO: Bundaberg Regional Council.
ROAD TO SAFETY: Buss and Newman St upgrade Port Bundaberg. PHOTO: Bundaberg Regional Council.

“We’re happy to see this project move to the next phase so Bundaberg can attract even more investment and the region’s world-famous exports can reach the globe,” he said.

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