Port set to miss out

Tugboats manoeuvre the massive 170m CSL Atlantic sugar transport ship into Bundaberg Port to pick up the first large load of sugar for the season.
Tugboats manoeuvre the massive 170m CSL Atlantic sugar transport ship into Bundaberg Port to pick up the first large load of sugar for the season. Max Fleet

THE State Government is set to bypass Bundaberg as it identifies the ports on the Queensland coast it will concentrate on developing in future.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and other government MPs have talked up a big future for the Port of Bundaberg in visits to the region.

Some of the ideas floated have been a new railway line from the north across a bridge over the Burnett River to allow the region's produce to be taken to the port and shipped out.

At present the Port of Bundaberg is mainly used to export sugar.

But in a draft Queensland Ports Strategy put together for submissions five ports are identified by the government as Priority Port Development Areas - and none of them is Bundaberg.

Submissions on the draft strategy are due tomorrowFri.

According to a summary of the proposals for the five ports that will be the focus of the State Government's development efforts the ports at Brisbane, Gladstone, Hay Point/Mackay, Abbot Point and Townsville will be favoured.

At those ports, according to a factsheet with the strategy, the government will facilitate staged, incremental expansion of port and terminal capacity and support the use of land for port developments by addressing land use tension and removing duplication in the approvals process for developments.

In a statement Mr Seeney said the government promised at the election to drive economic growth through the four pillars of tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.

"This will come through the efficient use and development of Queensland's long-established major port areas, identified as five Priority Port Development Areas in the draft Queensland Ports Strategy.

"We also promised to deliver better infrastructure and planning, something the previous government ignored.

"Once finalised, this document will deliver that commitment for the state's 20 ports, which include 15 trading ports, two community ports and three gazetted non-trading ports."

A spokeswoman for Mr Seeney said the draft Queensland Ports Strategy was still on public consultation, and interested parties were encouraged to make submissions by tomorrow's deadline.

An Australian Sugar Milling spokesman said they were still preparing their submission.

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