April 11th 2013
The Port responds
On Tuesday, in an article titled, "Why the Port doesn't need to expand," North Queensland Conservation Council Co-ordinator, Wendy Tubman, questioned the projected demand on the Townsville port into the future. Her criticisms responded to the Port's Environmental Impact Statement presently out for public comment. At the time we sought a response from the Port of Townsville which didn't eventuate until now. So, in fairness to the Port, we have received a statement from them which we have published in full, below.
The comments were made by Ms Ranee Crosby, acting Chief Executive Officer, Port of Townsville Limited.
“The EIS comprehensively describes the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with the Port Expansion Project, and demonstrates how these can be responsibly managed to safeguard local values.
“If the EIS is approved, vital strategic approvals will be in place to enable the port and region to grow in line with demand, and with certainty as the population base expands and new mines and industry come online.
“This is a blueprint for development, not a starter’s gun for construction.
“Ports, like most economic infrastructure, take 5-10 years to plan, and then operate for generations. Ultimately construction of any new infrastructure must be underwritten by a robust business case that industry or investors will fund. This project is not going to appear overnight and it will not happen if the demand doesn’t exist.
“While the EIS looks at Townsville port’s next phase of growth, it considers Townsville continuing to handle the diverse commodities - particularly agricultural and minerals trades, fuels, cement, defence, cruise, and general cargo - and shipping operations it has done successfully for more than a century.
“Any future trade will of course be subject to individual environmental approvals processes.
“We encourage all members of the community and industry to have a say on the extensive studies and modelling work the Corporation has been undertaking for the last five years.”
The EIS is available in full at www.townsville-port.com.au/eis.