Call for input on Abbot Point, Hay Point ports legislation
LEGISLATION set to underpin future growth at Abbot Point and Hay Point ports is open for public comment.
The State Government's master planning for priority ports draft guidelines has opened for submissions after the Sustainable Ports Development Bill passed through State Parliament November 12 last year.
A key feature of the bill was to mandate master plans for all priority ports, including Gladstone, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point.
The draft legislation is described as a framework to see port infrastructure, surrounding land use, supply chains and "social, economic and environmental relationships" optimised.
Although the government says health of the Great Barrier Reef is central to the legislation, the Mackay Conservation Group's Peter McCallum has started preparing a submission of concerns.
"We have seen great work from this state government, such as there will be no more capital dredge spoil dumped in the Great Barrier Reef marine park. But we want to see more," Mr McCallum said.
"Maintenance dredge spoil can still be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, for example.
"This is a welcome opportunity for us to have a say on these things and we will be watching to see if government takes them onboard."
He said the group was also concerned about the impact of coal dust on residents living close to the ports and by the impact port expansion would have on "highly sensitive" nearby ecosystems.
"And is there the need for any more expansion of coal ports? Coal is at the peak of its life, so we shouldn't need to expand these ports," he said.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert encouraged the community to engage with the submission process, although she was satisfied with the draft legislation.
She said the master plan should give industry the confidence to expand.
"Businesses that have been looking to diversify and grow now have the confidence of a supply chain into the future," Ms Gilbert said.
"This doesn't only ensure business growth, but that the health of the reef is protected. This then protects the tourism industry."
She also believes it will aid the development of emerging industries, like biofuels.
The legislation will be open for submissions until 5pm on March 14.
To make a submission see the Department of State Development website.