Ports Corp plans for green land
GLADSTONE is one of the best-planned industrial cities in the world, according to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
Ms Bligh visited the city yesterday and announced jointly with the Gladstone Ports Corporation that a 12,800 hectare parcel of Ports land would be set aside as “green space”.
The land is adjacent to the existing Port Alma, up past the Narrows, which is one of Gladstone's iconic fishing and crabbing areas.
“Gladstone Ports Corporation has offered up 70 per cent of its Strategic Port Land at Port Alma as an environmental offset for future port developments,” Ms Bligh said.
“That means some 12,800ha of the 18,617ha block could be protected and left in its natural state. This offer will now need to be approved by the Co-ordinator-General and the Federal Government to formally classify as offset. Providing this happens, the land could become national park.”
The site sits beside the Rundle Range National Park, Rundle State Forest, the Fitzroy River fish habitat and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive Leo Zussino said the land was designated for development, but this move would ensure it was conserved in perpetuity to protect the environment.
He said in addition to preserving the land, the Ports Corporation would work with the Federal Environment and Heritage Department, and state departments to plan Port Alma, with aim for balance between potential economic development and protecting the environment.
“We intend to do that by staying very close to the shipping channel and to minimise our impact,” Mr Zussino said.
He said the community would get a chance to have their say during the strategic planning of Port Alma.
“It's one of the few – if only – times we've seen an industrial port give up land that could have been for environmental preservation,” Ms Bligh said.
“We've certainly seen land returned for other strategic purposes for other different kinds of building from time to time, but I'm not aware of a port giving up something as strategic as 12,000ha for environmental preservation.
“Having the green space added to the National Park estate is great for Queensland and the nation, but importantly locally here in Gladstone, it's a great victory for The Narrows,” Ms Bligh said.
“Gladstone, in my view, is one of the best-planned industrial cities in the world.”