STALLED WORK: Pacific Tug commercial manager Darryl Savage with MP Keith Pitt and Mayor Jack Dempsey.
STALLED WORK: Pacific Tug commercial manager Darryl Savage with MP Keith Pitt and Mayor Jack Dempsey. Jim Alouat

Pollies clash over standstill: Port's Pacific Tug of war

FOR four years Pacific Tug has worked to create a marine industry precinct at Bundaberg Port, and the process is still going.

Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt yesterday raised queries about the project after securing $6 million of federal funding over 18 months ago.

"The Pacific Tug marine industry precinct at the Port of Bundaberg, a $20 million project which will bring more than 110 full-time jobs, is still waiting for approvals from the relevant State Government to start,” Mr Pitt said.

"A similar project in Brisbane was signed off in a matter of months. When is the Queensland State Labor Government going to put the needs of people in Hinkler first and get on board with the Hinkler Regional Deal.”

The project was to include a hard stand to support heavy industry; a roll-on, roll-off ramp; and a commercial vessel wharf for the temporary berth of vessels.

Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk visited the region in September 2017 and entered an agreement to designate vacant land at the port for the marine industry precinct. But the site is yet to receive approval.

A port development engineer at Pacific Tug said the ongoing application was exhausting.

"The complexity of the whole process is not what we expected,” he said.

"We're going through the development application process at the moment. The process is quite onerous.

"We've been back and forth with the government, we're through stage two, we're addressing some referral questions at the moment and then we'll go back to the state.

"Then they will make an assessment after that.”

However the State Government denied the process had been drawn out.

"No concerns have been raised by Pacific Tug around the assessment of the Pacific Marine Base Bundaberg development application,” a spokesperson said.

"The application was lodged in November 2018 and continues to be assessed by Gladstone Ports Corporation, with input from other government stakeholders.”

The spokesperson commented on the $8 million federal budget announcement on upgrades to the Princess St and Bargara Rd thoroughfare.

"The Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt issued a press release this week which listed $8 million to upgrade Bargara Rd and Princess St,” they said.

"The Queensland Government has received no further details about this funding from Mr Pitt or the Federal Government.

"TMR has not done a business case or detailed planning for this project, which appears to have been a last-minute sweetener in the Hinkler Regional Deal to help Mr Pitt's election hopes.”

The NewsMail contacted GPC, which owns the port. It declined to comment.



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