US Navy puts port shortfall in sharp focus
THE Port of Townsville should be a hive of activity at the moment, brimming with US defence force members. Instead, two US Navy ships, USNS
Charles Drew and USNS Richard E. Byrd, which are here for activities around the Talisman Sabre joint operation, have opted to anchor off Magnetic Island, with their captains uncomfortable navigating the port’s narrow channel.
It’s an embarrassment on the world stage for Townsville and needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
Our future partnership with the US Navy could be at risk, as the inconvenience of not being able to dock at the port could push them south, to the larger Port of Brisbane.
The potential threat of the US Navy turning its back on the city should be a serious wake- up call.
It should also be remembered that any further deals with large cruise ship companies would also hinge on their ability to dock at the port.
If we can’t keep up with the increasing size of ships, we will get left behind, brushed aside for larger ports.
Throughout the city’s history, the port has been a vital part of our economy and it underpins much of our prosperity.
Unless the channel- widening project is given urgent priority, the city could lose out on millions pouring into the economy.
It is time to get on with the port expansion. The State Government has committed $ 75 million for the $ 193 million expansion project.
The Federal Government needs to step up and match the state funding to ensure the future prosperity of the port.
Isn’t funding projects such as the port expansion the whole point of creating the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility?
It is high time those funds are put to use on keeping dollars in North Queensland.
The works are expected to be completed by 2022, with the development awaiting the final environmental approval process.
Port of Townsville has been meticulous when it comes to environmental concerns.
The dredge spoil will be moved to land, the reef will not be affected and any other concerns have been dealt with.
This is the kind of project the North needs to keep moving forward.