Premier and Minister at odds over Fitzroy coal port

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman (left, pictured here with Transport Minister Scott Emerson) inspects the onsite manufacturing plant at the Yeppen floodplain crossing on the southern approach to Rockhampton on the Bruce Highway. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman (left, pictured here with Transport Minister Scott Emerson) inspects the onsite manufacturing plant at the Yeppen floodplain crossing on the southern approach to Rockhampton on the Bruce Highway. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

THERE is still no clear position around port development in the Fitzroy Basin after Premier Campbell Newman opposed the view of federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

Mr Hunt told the ABC's 4Corners program on Monday night there would be no coal port development in the delta but, on a visit to Rockhampton on Friday, Mr Newman left no doubt about his own government's position.

"Well I don't agree with that…because it's the Port of Rockhampton operating for over 100 years," he said.

"It's also part of the designated Port of Gladstone. I'm not going to turn down the jobs."

It was all about jobs for Mr Newman, who defended his government's policies despite significant disapproval in recent polls.

He said Rockhampton's place in the Queensland Plan was critically important as the gateway to a huge agricultural, resources and tourism area.

"We have a four-pillar economic policy and Rockhampton region ticks all those boxes," he said.

"We need infrastructure to support that."

Exactly what infrastructure his government was likely to support is still a guessing game with Mr Newman making it clear the local area needed to clearly define its priorities.

"In terms of in-principle support, I think they're all very sound projects and worthy of being pursued," he said.

"I'm on the record saying we will support the CQ NRL bid. If they win it, we will provide the stadium…that's on the table.

On the cards?

  • CQ NRL stadium and convention centre
  • Great Keppel Island redevelopment
  • Iwasaki Capricorn Resort expansion
  • South Rockhampton flood levee
  • Northern access road to Capricorn Coast
  • Relocation of a government department to Rockhampton

"Townsville particularly are pushing for one (stadium/convention centre)."

Mr Newman said the legacy left by the previous government of "enormous deficits and a huge and growing debt" was now under control and, for the first time in a decade, the government wouldn't have to borrow money in the next financial year.

"We have $80 billion in debt," he said.

"Before we talk about how we invest in Rockhampton, Capricornia or the whole state, we need to confront this issue.

"If you re-elect us, we will lease the Port of Gladstone, lease the Port of Townsville, sell the industrial pipelines of SunWater, sell the remaining government-owned electricity generating companies…and we would find a mechanism for the private sector to invest in Ergon, Energex and Powerlink.

"That's a mechanism to generate $33.6 billion.

"(A sum of) $25 billion can go to paying down debt, which saves an enormous amount of interest, but $8.6 billion is still available for building infrastructure.

"It's about how we carve up the proceeds…to get a fair and equitable distribution of the projects around the state."

Topics:  coal port fitzroy basin mining premier campbell newman

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