City to be nation?s largest exporter
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au GLADSTONE will become the largest export facility in Australia.
As State Parliament met in Rockhampton yesterday, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie (pictured) announced the long-awaited $1.8 billion Wiggins Island terminal had gained 'significant' project status.
The announcement means the $5 million Environmental Impact Statement for the project will now begin, representing the next step forward for the Gladstone port.
The Wiggins Island Terminal would in turn create 500 jobs during construction and 125 operational jobs, with stage one due for completion by 2010.
Mr Beattie said with the demand for coal continually rising, ports like Gladstone needed to continually grow to cope.
'The demand for coal is so extensive that I can't see, even with a slightly reduced demand out of China, it having any great impact on the price of coal,' Mr Beattie said.
'I think the demand is so great and it's so long-term that this level of investment is important.'
Mr Beattie said the Wiggins Island project would see Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) and Queensland Rail combine to build an electrified rail line, new rail loops, stockpiles, shiploaders and 2.4 kilometres of new wharf approach.
However the good news didn't stop there, with Mr Beattie announcing further work on Gladstone's port had also received significant project status ? an expansion of the Fisherman's Landing facility in the Gladstone State Development Area to the north-west of Gladstone.
Mr Beattie said the Fisherman's Landing development would mean the reclamation of 153 hectares of land adjacent to the existing facilities at Fisherman's Landing to enable the creation of six additional wharves.
Mr Beattie said as part of the Gladstone State Development Area, the Fisherman's Landing expansion would help attract future industry to the Gladstone region.
'Dredging will take place over a number of years to construct the berth pocket and approach channels,' Mr Beattie said.
'The project will be developed in stages dictated by the demand for port facilities ? the first stage costing $161 million and focusing on the construction of a bund and revetment wall to provide three new berths.'