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Mackay’s economy will benefit from another $17 million in infrastructure projects over the next 12 months after the Palaszczuk Government unveiled its latest capital program for the bustling Mackay port.

After officially opening the $497 million Mackay Ring Road, Transport and Main Roads Minister joined Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert to announce projects including construction of a new tug berth facility; upgrades to Wharves 1 and 4; seawall repairs; and essential maintenance dredging – job-creating projects for the sugar city.

“We’re all aboard when it comes to jobs and making sure our world-class exports can get from Mackay to the world,” Mr Bailey said.

“Over the past two years, we’ve upgraded the Vines Creek bridges to improve access to Mackay’s port, we opened the Mackay Ring Road this weekend and now we’re turning our attention to building the Walkerston Bypass and, after that, the Mackay Port Access road.

“All of these projects are connected to ensure our primary industries are supported with a road network to help their product get from the paddock and pit to our port.

“The Palaszczuk Government, through our publicly-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), has approved a $17 million package of works that will boost the regional economy and increase opportunities for attracting trade to the region.

“Queenslanders have rallied together to manage the health impacts of COVID-19. Because of their effort we can get on with Queensland’s plan for economic recovery and jobs. That includes backing our publicly-owned ports.

“Apart from more than 120 North Queensland Bulk Port employees, our ports are a place of work for more than 1000 Queenslanders and support a further 28,000 direct trade jobs involved in mining, farming and transporting trade.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the projects will strengthen Mackay port’s capabilities to handle diversified trade.

“The Port of Mackay is a place of work for about 360 people each day and is also critical to around 1,800 Queensland jobs in mining, agriculture and logistics and facilitates $1.6B of trade worldwide,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“A tug berth facility inside the port and the wharf works will drive efficiency for trade and position the port to continue to grow – whether for new, breakbulk trade or existing commodities such as fuel, sugar and grain.”

Mrs Gilbert said the planned works build on a range of recent improvements including the construction of laydown areas; installation of accredited quarantine facilities; the building of a new access road (Gudyara Road) and; the creation of dedicated RoRo facilities.

“Our ports, like the whole region, have been working hard to deal with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and we will continue to progress trade opportunities for regional growth,” she said.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Fertin said Mackay’s multi-commodity port continues to build momentum in growing and diversifying its trade, with the volumes in the past financial year the second-best on record.

“The tenders for these projects will be advertised on Q-Tenders and we will be looking to utilise the great local contractors and suppliers that we have in the Mackay region as much as possible.”

NQBP is a Queensland Government-owned corporation also responsible for the strategic ports of Abbot Point, Hay Point and Weipa in far north Queensland.

Priority projects snapshot

New tug berth facility

  • Construction of a new purpose-built, tug facility inside the port for its critical towage operation.
  • The facility will cater for the current fleet requirements and support future expansion.

Wharf 1 upgrade

  • This investment will improve infrastructure capability to handle extra-long (85m to 95m) cargoes to attract new trade opportunities and diversify.
  • The construction works will involve extension of Wharf 1 access bridge to enable trade of longer breakbulk material, for example rail projects.

Hay Point Administration Building Refurbishment / Upgrade

  • Essential refurbishment and upgrade of the interior fit outs and utilities of the building.
  • The refurbishment and upgrade works will extend the usable life and cater for continued operation and usage of the building.

Mackay maintenance dredging

  • Essential maintenance dredging is planned for up to 14 days at the Port of Mackay in late September / early October 2020.
  • Maintenance dredging ensures efficient, navigable shipping depths for port users.

Wharf 4 eastern access deck upgrade

  • Upgrade the Wharf 4 Eastern access deck to a custom steel deck increasing its width and capacity to accommodate over mass RoRo cargoes.
  • This investment will improve NQBP’s RoRo trade capabilities and create opportunities for trade diversification by enabling heavier and wider cargoes through the port.

Western Revetment

  • Stabilisation works on a deteriorated sheet pile wall within the port area to improve safety.
  • The sheet piling were remnants from an old temporary dry dock built for the construction of the Hay Point Jetty in 1973.

The works will involve placement of 15,000 tonnes of rock material sourced from local quarries to form a new revetment structure.