THE Queensland Government is expected to announce $70 million in funding for the Port of Townsville’s channel widening project.

The project will create more than 100 new jobs while also supporting 8000 full-time jobs in industries that rely on the city’s port.

It’s understood Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will confirm the funding allocation in the State Budget which is due to be delivered in Brisbane next Tuesday.

The funding will include a reinvestment of port dividends paid to the Government.

The importance of the port project has been highlighted in the Townsville City Deal between the Queensland Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Port of Townsville was an important gateway for trade.
“Queensland is posting record exports with $59 billion in overseas sales over the previous 12 months,” she said. “Through the City Deal, the three levels of government highlighted the port expansion as a priority.”

The channel widening is still subject to environmental approval with the environmental impact statement within the final 40-day statutory assessment timeline with the Federal Department of Environment and also under consideration by the Queensland Department of Environment.

The channel widening is the first stage of the $1.64 billion Townsville Port Expansion Project.

If the channel isn’t widened, some ships will have to bypass Townsville, resulting in goods being sent by road or rail and money from cruise ship passengers being spent elsewhere.

Dredge material will not be dumped at sea but will be re-used for the port’s new reclamation area.

The channel widening work will take about four-and-a-half years, with 80 per cent of work to be done at the harbour entrance and Platypus Channel close to the port.

The port channel widening means freight such as motor vehicles, fuels, gas, bitumen and containers loaded with goods can arrive by ship instead of having to be trans­ported more than 1300km by road.