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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

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    Trinity Inlet dredging money will flow when project is ready to go

    The State Government's $60 million commitment to dredging Trinity Inlet remains strong, but the money will only flow if the business case stacks up and relevant approvals are obtained.

    Confusion reigned in the wake of the Budget's release on Tuesday with funding for the dredging project left out in this year's fiscal accounts.

    Member for Cairns Michael Healy himself was unsure about the status of funding when quizzed about it during media interviews yesterday morning.

    But in a statement to TropicNow, a spokesman from the office of Minister for Transport Mark Bailey cleared up the matter.

    "We committed $60 million to the Cairns Shipping Development Project in 2017-18, subject to the business case stacking up and all relevant environmental approvals being obtained," he said.

    "That commitment of course remains. As identified in Budget Paper 2, the Port of Cairns is continuing to progress regulatory approvals. The Port is currently awaiting Federal approval of their EIS, and the business case for the project is being finalised.

    "The State’s funding will flow, and will be reflected in future budget documents, once all relevant approvals have been obtained.

    "The previous scope of the project under LNP - involving 4.1 million cubic metres of dredge spoil and costing $365 million - just didn’t stack up, environmentally or economically.

    "The revised scope of the project - around 1 million cubic metres of spoil and a cost of $120 million - is a common sense outcome. It's good for the environment and makes economic sense."

    The spokesman also confirmed the state government was only funding half of the $120 million project, with the balance of $60 million coming from Ports North.