Member for Maryborough - Bruce Saunders.
Member for Maryborough - Bruce Saunders. Alistair Brightman

Saunders pushes for port expansion

A PROPOSED state development area at the Port of Bundaberg could quadruple the amount of goods exported overseas  by the Fraser Coast and surrounding areas.

At an announcement made on Monday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Ports Minister Mark Bailey would investigate creating a State Development Area at the Port of Bundaberg.

Despite being more than 100km up the road, the Port of Bundaberg is used by exporters from the Fraser Coast, including the MSF Maryborough Sugar Factory, making up about 25% of the total exports from the port in the past year.

Maryborough State MP Bruce Saunders said the development would be a "great economic benefit" to the Fraser Coast economy because traders could export directly into the Asian market.

"We'll have an export facility on our doorstep to the fastest growing region in the Asian centre," Mr Saunders said,

"For a start we can export biofuel, I'm on the biofuel committee and this is great news because we're hoping to get a biofuel plant in Maryborough and we'll be able to export what we don't use directly from us."

Dr Lynham said the investigation into establishing a State Development Area around the Port of Bundaberg would include land on the western side of the river.

"We're talking about increasing throughput from an average 254,000 tonnes a year for the last five years to an estimated 1,000,000 tonnes a year," Dr Lynham said.

The 254,000 tonnes of exported goods include wood pellets, silica sands, raw sugar and some molasses- some of which comes from the Fraser Coast, but Dr Lynham said the plans included exporting minerals.

"The investigation will look at industry opportunities, land use, infrastructure and transport requirements and the environment," he said.

"The opportunity is to increase the port's commodity base to include minerals."

Before any plans can be put in place, Ministers Dr Lynham and Mr Bailey must discuss the expansion with the State Coordinator General and stake holders.

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