New channel planned
GLADSTONE could be in line for a second $400 million shipping channel under plans to be unveiled today.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation wants to duplicate the existing channel and Queensland's Co-ordinator-General has awarded the proposal significant project status.
The proposal would involve more dredging and at this stage it is unclear how much material would need to be dredged.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the project would involve duplicating the existing Gatcombe and Golding Cutting shipping channel from the outer harbour, around East Banks, and to the western side of Facing Island.
"This project will open up a second channel in the harbour, allowing two-way traffic and more efficient and effective use of the harbour," he said.
"The Gladstone Ports Corporation has identified this as a key component of a 50-year strategic plan to safely and sustainably accommodate future shipping requirements."
The plan for the world's fifth largest coal export terminal comes after a year of controversy about dredging and water quality in Gladstone Harbour.
Co-ordinator-General Barry Broe said the EIS process marked the start of a comprehensive assessment process looking at environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits.
The State Government declares a proposal significant if it involves multi-government approvals, environmental impacts or is important to the region or state.
The State and Federal governments were at loggerheads this year over development approvals in the Sunshine State with lengthy delays in the federal-side approval of the South of Embley and Alpha Coal mines.
Still hopeful of gaining co-operation from his federal counterparts, Mr Seeney stressed the point that timely Commonwealth approvals were critical.
"The project involves dredging and soil disposal and, therefore, the co-
operation and timely responses from relevant Commonwealth agencies will be very important, to complement our own streamlined approval approached," he said.
Gladstone Ports Corporation to invest $400 million
Twenty-month construction period from 2014-2015
Creation of 100 jobs during construction
Major dredging and soil disposal involved
Draft terms of reference available from October 8, 2012
Public submission must be received by November 5, 2012