A sugar ship at the Port of Bundaberg.
A sugar ship at the Port of Bundaberg. Zach Hogg BUN010914WBS1

Bundaberg port could be set for upgrade

THE Bundaberg Port could be set for a major upgrade due to its position south of the Great Barrier Reef's protected zone.

Speaking in Queensland Parliament on Tuesday, Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the port was ideally located to become an "economic hub".

Dr Lynham said Bundaberg was the only port other than Brisbane south of the reef's World Heritage Area on Queensland's east coast.

He said an investigation was underway to consider whether a state development area should be established at the port.

"If that evaluation recommends the state development area, a boundary will be identified and consulted upon in the second quarter of 2016," Dr Lynham said.

He said work had begun on the $19.8 million Bundaberg port gas pipeline and a $70 million plasterboard facility would be next.

Dr Lynham said the pipeline would create about 45 jobs, including 15 local construction jobs, and the plasterboard facility about 200 construction jobs and a further 40 construction jobs.

Construction on the pipeline is set to begin in coming weeks and expected to be fully operational in early 2017.

Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson said the work could lead to increased economic activity in the Bundaberg region.

"It's Queensland's only other east coast trading port outside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Palaszczuk government is working with regional councils to explore its potential as an economic hub," she said.

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett did not respond to a request for comment by deadline on Tuesday. - ARM NEWSDESK