KAP member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth and member for Mount Isa Rob Katter have announced they will table an amendment to the current Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015, following growing concern from the northern business sector and community.
Mr Knuth who will table the amendment to include Cairns and Mourilyan as priority ports under the bill, says he wants to ensure the region has the ability to grow.
“Cairns is a strategic port, we want to see its expansion for jobs and development – Without designating them as a priority port there is little chance of that happening” Mr Knuth said.
“We believe it is very important the industry retains the opportunity to expand and accommodate the predicted growth of the population.”
Mr Knuth said it was also imperative these ports continued to develop as they play a pivotal role in the surrounding electorates.
“Prioritising ports such as Cairns and Mourilyan will not only mean growth in the Cairns region, it will also flow on to the Tablelands, Innisfail, Douglas Shire and Cape York.”
KAP member for Mt Isa Rob Katter said the party will continue to back a balanced approach to the protection of marine eco-systems, especially the GBRWHA.
“We are supportive of the integrity of the legislation, but the region wants certainty now, and we have the opportunity to ensure that occurs,” Mr Katter said.
“We have to do everything possible to maximise opportunity for critical pieces of infrastructure in the North.”
Without the amendment only one of the five projects planned for the Cairns Port would be able to continue.
It is predicted that the restriction of these projects could result in a loss of opportunity for gross regional product of up to $700 million and over 6,000 jobs (Ports North submission).
“Both Shane Knuth and I are happy to support the overall consensus of the business community in Cairns to allow the region to go forward,” Mr Katter said.
“KAP will always stand for development, industry and jobs in North Queensland.”
North Queensland independent MP Billy Gordon has also announced he will support the amendment.