Queensland infrastructure gets boost

THE Queensland government has signalled it will be supporting major infrastructure projects to assist the state’s burgeoning coal mining sector.
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Dalrymple Bay coal terminal, Mackay, Queensland

Staff Reporter

Projects include an expansion of the coal capacity of the rail system to 202 million tonnes per annum by 2010; the expansion of coal loading terminals at Gladstone Port; and the Burdekin Pipeline Project which will ensure continuity of water to Bowen Basin mines.

Queensland premier Peter Beattie said the projects - with a combined worth of over $570 million - were being undertaken by the state's public sector this fiscal year.

"My government is planning for the industry's future infrastructure needs on the basis that railed coal production will rise from 143Mt in the year to June 30, 2004, to 202Mt in the year to June 30, 2010. That's why, last year, we established the Coal Infrastructure Co-ordination Group, which represents all interested government departments,” he said.

Rail infrastructure projects include $280 million in the Blackwater rail system and $55 million in the Goonyella rail system.

The two coal-loading terminals at Gladstone, which service the export of coalon the Moura rail system, are both undergoing expansion to lift throughput from 40Mt a year to more than 63Mt a year by 2007. Hay Point Services Coal Terminal and Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal are also being expanded - Hay Point by 4 megatonnes a year and Dalrymple Bay by 5 megatonnes a year.

The Ports Corporation of Queensland has started master planning for the terminal at Abbot Point, with ultimate throughput possibly increasing by up to 25 megatonnes a year.

Meanwhile, building projects worth an estimated $3 billion are in the pipeline for the region between Mackay and Bowen, according to The Courier Mail, driven by the rising price of coal and the flow-through effects to mining employees.

Building approvals in Mackay alone have risen by around 20% annually over the past three years. Mackay is a favoured location for housing for many central Bowen Basin coal miners, many of whom commute weekly between homes in the coastal town and their inland jobs.

The Whitsunday Shire reported $2 billion of residential and tourism developments on the books while the Bowen Shire estimates it has building projects worth over $125 million.