Port seen as way to boost local economy
PLANS have been floated for the establishment of a commercial shipping port on the Mid North Coast, with Coffs Harbour the logical location.
The idea for a port which would accommodate large cruise and container ships is being considered by Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast (RDAMNC) as one way to use about $6 billion of State Government money raised from the partial leasing of "poles and wires" assets which will be allocated to infrastructure projects in regional NSW.
The port concept is among a number of infrastructure priorities submitted by RDAMNC in partnership with NSW Business Chamber's North Coast branch and Industry Mid North Coast.
RDAMNC CEO Lorraine Gordon said the organisation had developed a model to assess which projects were likely to deliver the greatest economic benefit.
"The prioritisation model showed a number of key projects that could deliver a crucial benefit to expand and diversify the regional economy, address capacity constraints and increase employment," Lorraine said.
"One such project is the establishment of a commercial shipping port within the Mid North Coast region. Currently, the closest commercial ports accommodating ships of this size are located in Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane."
"If we want to increase exports then our industries need more options to get their product to international markets. In addition, tapping into the growing cruise ship visitor market can only be good for tourism."
Some other key projects identified included:
- Expanded agricultural processing and packaging facilities on the Mid North Coast.
- Water infrastructure in the region for agricultural purposes and mitigation of flood and drought events.
- East-West road linkages to the tablelands, including the Oxley Highway, Armidale-Kempsey Way and Waterfall Way.
- Freight forwarding yards within the Mid North Coast to improve the logistics of road transport.