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$120M Project to Fast-track Cairns Shipping Channel Dredging

Aerial Shots of Cairns, Trinity Inlet, where Dredging will Take Place

Posted on June 23, 2016

By Nick Dalton, Cairns Post

DREDGING of the Cairns shipping channel is to be fast-tracked to allow cruise ships up to 300m-long to dock at the city’s port in a project that is estimated to cost $120 million.

Treasurer and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said the revised proposal would slash the amount of dredging from 4.4 million cubic metres to 1 million cubic metres with all spoil to be dumped on land.

The new scheme – still to undergo an environmental-impact statement – is estimated to be a third of the cost of a previous LNP government program and to take two years to deliver instead of five years.

The mega class ships will be larger than the 279m-long Rhapsody of the Seas.

The change willand also allow bigger capacity naval, fuel and sugar ships to use the harbour.

All going well the first of the mega ships will dock at the city’s cruise liner terminal in 2019.

Mr Pitt, who reveals details at an Advance Cairns breakfast this morning, said based on revised forecasts an extra 37 new mega cruise ships a year will be able to visit the city by 2026, increasing to 59 on the basis of ships continuing to be based in Cairns and the completion of the new Brisbane cruise liner terminal.

“The revised project scope also guarantees that no capital dredge material will be placed at sea and, while there is still considerable work to be done in the EIS investigation, I’m advised that the total cost will be reduced to around $120m.

“That’s one-third of the cost of the LNP’s original estimate.”

Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the port was now completing a rigorous EIS for the revised project scope to consider all environmental issues and impacts.

“The final EIS report will be submitted for consideration by the Queensland Coordinator-General by 30 June 2017,” he said.

Carnival Australia executive chairman Ann Sherry said it was “a positive initiative.

Source: Cairns Post

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