A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been released for the Abbot Point coal port expansion, meaning the project is one step closer to creating new jobs in Queensland.
The development of the Galilee Basin is expected to generate thousands of employment opportunities, which may include apprenticeships and traineeships. The Abbot Point initiative has been described as a catalyst in the region’s progress.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the public can now comment on the EIS until September 18. He recently discussed the document with council, community and business representatives in Bowen.
“This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver for Queenslanders,” he explained. “We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal, and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal.”
According to Dr Lynham, the EIS is an extensive document with 150 commitments to environmental protection, as well as 2,400 pages of investigatory information. Stakeholders will have more than 20 business days to comment on the project before the September 18 deadline passes.
Boosting jobs in Queensland
The Abbot Point project will create 160 construction jobs in Queensland during its peak building phases; however, the wider effect on employment is set to be much larger.
In May, Dr Lynham said the initiative, which will expand the port’s capacity to cope with upcoming mining projects across the region, will take Queensland’s coal industry to the next level.
Last week (August 20), the minister said one of the biggest benefits of the project is that it will not come at the taxpayers’ expense. The expansion is entirely at the cost of Galilee Basin developers.
“The Queensland government will deliver a robust final EIS, which will include feedback from consultation, to the Commonwealth government in early October,” he added. “It’s then up to the Commonwealth government, which has 40 business days to assess the EIS and deliver a final decision on the project.”
The Queensland Resources Council welcomed the EIS announcement, with Chief Executive Michael Roche congratulating the state government on committing to 150 environmental guidelines. He said the project would provide huge jobs potential to people in Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Emerald, Barcaldine, Clermont and Alpha.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator