Port to reach dizzy heights

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

"THIS will take our port facility to dizzy heights.'' These were the words of an excited Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) acting chair and Gladstone mayor Peter Corones yesterday.

News that our port would undergo further expansions was described as "setting the pace'' for the nation's exporting facilities.

'The most exciting thing out of this is that when you add in what is already happening at the port, this will make us the biggest exporting port in the nation,' Cr Corones said.

Cr Corones described the recent growth of the local port as "amazing'' with a $230 million expansion of the RG Tanna Coal Terminal already under way.

'When you think that it took us (the port) 100 years to get to 30 million tonnes, than another 15 years to make it to 60 million tonnes and now in less than five years we will be at 90 million tonnes, it really is incredible,' he said.

Cr Corones said a recent announcement by the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor (ATEC) that an inland rail link from Melbourne to Gladstone would be complete by 2009 would be supported by yesterday's announcement.

'Well I think they're (ATEC) going to have to (complete the rail link) in order to get the product to Gladstone for export,' he said.

However Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham was reluctant to give the government too much credit, stating that the Fisherman's Landing announcement made yesterday had already been made as part of the CQPA strategic plan.

She also said that as yet there had been no dollars attached to the Fisherman's Landing extension and described it as 'a bit of a beat-up.'

However Ms Cunningham said she definitely welcomed the announcement of the Wiggins Island funding, which recognised the strategic role the port played on a state and national scale.

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