Agreement no lump of coal
"I AM short and fat but I could do a backflip if it all goes through."
Greg Dempsey owns the Bowen IGA and has seen his town crippled by economic downturn.
"This year has been the worst in my five years up here," he said.
Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday agreed with mining proponents Adani and GVK to dump dredge spoil from the expansion of the Port of Abbot Point, about 29km north-west of Bowen, at a site known as T2.
Subject to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), dredging could begin in March, next year. It isn't a moment too soon for Mr Dempsey.
"Bowen is a beautiful place to live but there haven't been any jobs. People have just packed up and left," he said.
Under the agreement, dredge spoil would be dumped adjacent to the existing coal terminal, not on the Caley Valley wetlands or within The Reef World Heritage Area.
Ms Palaszczuk said the T2 area was old industrial-zoned land which could cater for the dredge spoil, despite its proximity to the wetlands and waterways.
Expanding the Abbot Point port could lead to Galilee Basin coal mines transporting coal around the world from Abbot Point, with as many as 10,000 construction and operation jobs added into the region.
Ms Palaszczuk said the port development was vital to the economy and would undergo a strict environmental process for approval.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said capital dredging costs would not be taxpayer funded.
Dr Lynham said there would be a full EIS process, including public consultation, taking about 6-9 months.
Adani CEO and Country Head, Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the port expansion was at the heart of Adani's mine, rail and port projects in Queensland.
About 1.05 million cubic metres of dredge material would be removed, he said.