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Australia : Ports North given more time to properly assess Cairns Port expansion.

Ports North has been granted an extension until mid-2017 to review its plans and environmental impact statement to expand the Port of Cairns.

Treasurer and Acting State Development Minister Curtis Pitt said the Coordinator-General had today allowed Ports North until 30 June, 2017 to re-submit an EIS for the Cairns Shipping Development Project.

Granting this extension gives Ports North more time to develop a project thats economically and environmentally sustainable for the expansion of Cairns Port, Mr Pitt said.

We can strike a balance that both protects the environment and supports economic development, jobs and future trade growth in the Far North.

Weve said from the outset that Ports North will be able to continue to deliver well-scoped and achievable port projects for enhanced trade and tourism opportunities,provided its within the scope of the EIS process.

This will ensure the Queensland Government can still meet its port-related commitments in the Reef 2050 Plan, now its up to Ports North to make the most of the opportunity to work up options that fit within these limits.

The Cairns Shipping Development Project is able to proceed under the transitional arrangements under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, passed on November 12 in Parliament.

The scope of the project includes capital dredging of the swing basins in Trinity Inlet and deepening of the approach channel to the Port, he said.

The projects focus will be on increasing the size of ships that can enter and berth at Cairns Port.

This all must be consistent with the governments commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and to ban sea-based disposal of port-related capital dredged material.

Ports Norths requested an extension of its current deadline of 31 March 2016 to allow it to conduct a number of steps including:

A review of target vessel sizes and channel improvement options. Including the latest survey and field information on revised channel designs. Simulations to verify the size of cruise ships and access of reduced upgrade channels. Tidal window analysis to define limits on tidal constraints for each vessel size in the preferred channel widening alignment.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Dec 18, 2015
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