The Queensland Coordinator-General has declared the proposed upgrade of the Port of Cairns a significant project, meaning it will now progress to its environment assessment stage.


State Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Jeff Seeney, welcomed the announcement, and has called on the public to comment on the project’s draft terms of reference which, when released, will form the basis of the environmental impact statement (EIS).


The upgrade will focus on improving shipping access to Trinity Inlet by widening and deepening the existing shipping channels and swing basins to accommodate mega class cruise ships.


“The project is expected to require a workforce of 215 people during its one year construction period,” Mr Seeney said.


“The proponent also wants to widen and deepen the existing outer shipping channel and cruise shipping swing basin and expand the existing Dredge Material Placement Area.“ 


Other upgrades Ports North proposes to develop include:

  • establishment of a new shipping swing basin to allow for future expansion of the HMAS Cairns navy base
  • provision and upgrade of land-based infrastructure services including potable water and fire fighting services
  • expansion of the existing dredge material placement area and/or provision of a new area to accommodate dredge spoil from capital and maintenance dredging 


Mr Seeney said the EIS process marked the beginning of a comprehensive assessment process that would look at the environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits of the project.


The draft terms of reference can be viewed on-line at or at the following locations from Tuesday 2 October to close of business on Monday 29 October 2012:


  • Cairns Regional Council Library, 151 Abbott St, Cairns
  • State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane  


All public submissions should be made in writing and received by the Coordinator-General by 5pm on Monday 29 October 2012. 


Post: The Coordinator-General

c/- EIS project manager – Cairns Shipping Development project

Significant Projects Coordination

Office of the Coordinator-General

PO Box 15517

City East QLD 5002