FOCAL POINT: The Port of Bundaberg continues to provide a vital link for the region's industry.
FOCAL POINT: The Port of Bundaberg continues to provide a vital link for the region's industry. Mike Knott

SDA stalemate frustrates: Silence on Bundy port projects

WHEN the State Government declared 6076 hectares of land around the Port of Bundaberg as a State Development Area, it was labelled as a Christmas bonus for the local economy.

This declaration happened 18 months and two state budgets ago, and as of yet there appears to be no further commitment to projects on the land allocated on both sides of the Burnett River.

State MP Stephen Bennett describes the lack of progress at the Port as a stalemate.

The Federal Government offered $12m to fund a multi-use conveyor belt through the Hinkler Regional Deal, but needs support from the State Government, which has been apprehensive of the deal given that it solely benefits one federal electorate instead of the entire the Wide Bay.

"It could have seen the transportation of gypsum for our farmers, the transportation of our minerals, use from Knauf, the list is endless," Mr Bennett said.

Mr Bennett said the Port of Bundaberg's SDA had no practical use at this stage.

When requested for comment regarding his thoughts on the SDA, Mr Bennett unsurprisingly criticised the Labor led Government for politicising port development.

"We also note that they effectively shut down the advancement of the Barubbra Shores development five years ago and we've been waiting for action ever since.

"Not only has the Labor Government caused a port regeneration stalemate, they have also effectively created a nightmare for Pacific Tug."

Yet Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the SDA was not simply defined as a project.

Its aim was to make land available for development for 40 years.

"It is a long-term strategic initiative that ensures sufficient industrial land is available for local economic opportunities in the future," Mr Dick said.

But he did not ask answer the question "Can the Minister or a spokesperson representing him give some clarity as to how the Palaszczuk Government intends to take this SDA forward?"

He did say the Government was prioritising jobs and infrastructure in the following business year, and would invest $587m in infrastructure projects in the Wide Bay.

"Just last week, the Premier announced $6.7m for the detailed business case for a new hospital in Bundaberg as we search for land for this important facility," he said.

"In stark contrast, the LNP made a decision to cut, sack and sell and (Opposition leader) Deb Frecklington can't even say if she will support a new hospital for Bundaberg."