Work has started on the Port of Townsville's channel capacity upgrade project.
Work has started on the Port of Townsville's channel capacity upgrade project.

Jobs floating in as work starts on Townsville port

THE impact of the Townsville channel widening project is starting to be realised, with preliminary work already underway.

Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said several small work packages to prepare the 10 hectare site within the existing port area for the project had already started.

"These have been awarded to local companies," she said.

Preliminary construction works to build site offices, fencing, a new entrance-way and the installation of water and sewer services have started.

Environmental jobs will also come from the project, with at least four tenders for monitoring fauna and flora, as part of the project, open.

Coral, seagrass, megafauna and dolphins will be monitored under separate program the port is contracting out.

"To ensure the monitoring undertaken is robust, all our monitoring needs to be implemented by parties who are component and appropriately experienced and qualified," Ms Crosby said,

As part of the project, the port will establish an Independent Technical Advisory Committee to assist with setting relevant thresholds to safeguard environmental performance.

Ms Crosby said the committee would include relevant scientific specialists and would have the ability to stop works if any impacts were observed through the monitoring programs that would be in place.

CQUniversity environmental science head of course and lecturer Dr Nathan English said monitoring before, during and after the project would be a requirement of port's environmental assessment.

"You're looking for baseline data so you can measure the impact of any changes either during the activity or after the activity," he said.

"It's incredibly important because without that monitoring we don't know if the dredging will or may not have an impact."

Last month the Federal Government committed $75 million to the channel upgrade after a sustained campaign by the Townsville Bulletin.

The port has previously said the Channel Capacity Upgrade would create 120 full-time equivalent jobs in Townsville during construction and support 245 jobs in Queensland.

The width of the shipping channels will be increased from 92m to between 120m (at sea end) and 180m (at port end).

The channels will be widened by capital dredging.

None of the dredging material is allowed to be dumped at sea. The port says the material will be used to build up a reclamation area which will be used for future port expansion.

Ms Crosby said by widening the channel to give larger ships access, Townsville Port would remain "Northern Australia's transport link to the world, which would facilitate the growth of the regional economy.



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