The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Townsville Port Expansion Project has been approved by the federal government.
Approval of the EIS for the project means that preliminary works on Stage 1, the AUD193 million (USD151.8 million) channel widening project, could start before April this year, pending a resolution on final funding between the state and federal governments.
The port of Townsville ceo, Ranee Crosby, said the AUD1.64 billion (USD1.3 billion), 30-year development plan would ensure the port of Townsville could expand and become a globally competitive port.
"Ships are getting bigger and the widening of the channel is absolutely critical to the future viability of the port of Townsville," explained Crosby.
"At the moment Townsville cannot accept ships longer than 238 m in length, which by today's global standards is completely inadequate."
The port will fund AUD43 million (USD33.8 million) for the channel capacity upgrade, the Queensland government has confirmed a AUD75 million (USD59 million) funding commitment and has sought a matched AUD75 million contribution from the federal government for the project to proceed.