SAFETY FIRST? Aerial view of dredging in the Gladstone Harbour.
SAFETY FIRST? Aerial view of dredging in the Gladstone Harbour. Brenda Strong GLAPLAN

New port strategy aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef

THE State Government has proposed declaring five port areas where development will be concentrated and encouraged, including Gladstone.

Deputy Premier and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney said the move was among the key actions in the draft Queensland Ports Strategy released on Thursday.

He said the priority port development areas would be created for the ports of Brisbane, Mackay/Hay Point Gladstone, Townsville and Abbot Point.

"Along Queensland's 6973 km coastline, there are 20 ports including 15 trading ports, two community ports and three gazetted non-trading ports," Mr Seeney said.

"This is the government blueprint for managing and improving the efficiency and environmental management of the port network over the next decade.

"This strategy will also prohibit capital dredging for the development of deep water port facilities outside of the priority areas for the next 10 years. This will ensure the protection of the balance of the Queensland coastline from capital dredging projects."

He said the strategy preserved and built on the state's commitment in the Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy to restrict any significant port development within and adjoining the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to within port limits to 2022.

"The draft Queensland Ports Strategy aligns with the recommendation made by UNESCO that the Australian and Queensland Governments restrict port development outside the long-established major port areas within or adjoining the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area," he said.