Mourilyan Harbour was formed in a geological age of melting ice caps and volcanic activity with a history 400 million years old. This magnificent natural formation within a tropical rainforest setting is of outstanding beauty and should be a jewel in the crown of the Wet Tropic’s natural tourist attractions. But it isn’t. Why? One hundred and forty years of political wrangling and self interest has seen this harbour and its surveyed town left out in the cold (see Compost Bin June 2011).
I wrote to Ports North, the member for Kennedy Bob Katter, and the member for Hinchinbrook Andrew Cripps, with the following questioner:
As you know Mourilyan Harbour is of vital importance to the economic development of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council area. It is one of the world’s great natural harbours. Could you please assist me by answering the following questions?
What plans do you have for encouraging investment and promoting;
- General cargo handling at Mourilyan Harbour?
- Live cattle export?
- A cruise ship facility for Mourilyan Harbour?
Also, what plans do you have for:
- Providing facilities for the region’s fishing industry?
- Providing facilities for recreational fisherman following collapse of CEC?
- Providing a safe boat harbour/marina for small craft?
- Maintaining and upgrading the current bulk-handling facilities for the sugar industry?
- Inviting public consultation on the future of Port Mourilyan?
- Upgrading and supporting coast guard facilities to cater for the Cassowary Coast Region?
- Environmental Impact Studies to examine the impact of dredging on dugong and turtle-feeding grounds?
- Protection of the extensive mangrove forest within the harbour?
- Development of the old town of Mourilyan at the harbour?
- A shopping and small boat chandlery at Mourilyan?
- A small boat repair yard/ slipway facility? and
- Exporting wood products from timber plantations in the region?
Andrew Cripps MP
Member for Hinchinbrook
1. General cargo handling at Mourilyan Harbour
I would support the handling of general cargo through Mourilyan Harbour. The Far North Queensland Ports Corporation would need to facilitate such an activity with an appropriate agreement and approporiate facilities would need to be invested in by the entity proposing to handle the general cargo.
2. Live Cattle exports
I support the export of live cattle through Mourilyan Harbour. I note a facility has already been constructed at the port but is not being utilised. I assume this is due to logistical issues in relation to access by vessels of the appropriate size or capacity and / or the supply of cattle.
3. A Cruise Ship facility for Mourilyan Harbour
While I have no objection to the construction of such a facility in principle, the current users of the port, such as the sugar industry and recreational and commerical fishers, must have their interests preserved. The industrial and local use of the port may not be compatible with a cruise ship terminal.
4. Provide facilities for the region’s fishing industry
Mourilyan Harbour is already the base for a number of commerical fishing operators in the Innisfail district. There was an allocation in the state budget last year through the Far North Queensland Ports Corporation for a new commerical fishing facility but this has not been delivered. I am pursuing this issue.
5. Provide facilities for recreational fisherman following collapse of CEC
I have pursued this issue for several years and continue to do so. The Bligh Labor Government, like the Beattie Labor Government before it, has promised much but actually delivered very little to the recreational fishers in the Innisfail district regarding boat ramp facilities at Mourilyan Harbour.
6. Provide a safe boat harbour/ marina for small craft
I have no objection to such a facility in princple, but a proposal would need to come forward from a private investor and an agreement reached with the Far North Queensland Ports Corporation.
7. Maintain and upgrade the current bulk handling facilities for the sugar industry
The current bulk handling facilities for the sugar industry are owned by Queensland Sugar Ltd, with the land leased from Sugar Terminals Ltd. Investment in the bulk handling facilities will be determined by QSL and TSL.
8. Invite public consultation on the future of Port Mourilyan
I would welcome the undertaking of a public consultation process on the future use of Mourilyan Harbour.
9. Upgrade and support coast guard facilities to cater for the Cassowary Coast Regional Area
I regularly support the Innisfail Coast Guard in its efforts to upgrade its facilities and resources at Mourilyan Harbour.
10. Environmental Impact study to examine the impact on dugong and turtle feeding grounds
Industrial developments usually require the undertaking of an Environmental Impact Study as part of its approval criteria.
11. Protection of the extensive mangrove forest within the harbour
The mangroves at Mourilyan Harbour would be protected under existing environmental legislation, balanced against its zoning as an industrial port area.
12. Development of the old town of Mourilyan at the harbour
I would welcome the development of the former residential areas at the Harbour. The area is attractive and would no doubt be popular for its proximity to the harbour for recreational pursposes. However, an assessment of the available land would need to be made and balanced off against other proposed future commerical uses of the harbour.
13. Shopping and small boat chandlery at Mourilyan
I have no objection to the development of a commerical / business / retailarea in principle. A private investor would need to enter into an agreement with Far North Queensland Ports Corporation to secure a site to establish such an area at Mourilyan Harbour.
14. Small boat repair yard slipway facility
I have no objection to such a facility in principle. A private business would need to enter into an agreement with Far North Queensland Ports Corporation to secure a site to establish a facility at Mourilyan Harbour.
15. Export of wood products from timber plantations in the region
I support the exporting of timber products in the region through Mourilyan Harbour. Diversifying the use of Mourilyan Harbour is a worthy goal, although I would like to stress again the importance of preserving and protecting the interests of current users, such as the sugar industry and commerical and recreational fishers.
General Manager Corporate Services, Ports North
Thank you for your enquiry. Attached is a media release we issued last year in relation to planning and development for the Port of Mourilyan.
27 August 2010
NEW PORT DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR PORT OF MOURILYAN
Ports North, the manager and operator of the Far North Queensland’s Ports, will complete a new Development Plan for the Port of Mourilyan to ensure it’s well positioned for future growth.
The new Plan will take into account long term development options for the Port, trade predictions, current and future public use, future berth needs, land and transport requirements and environmental issues.
Chairman, Dr Ken Chapman, said the new Plan was part of Ports North’s drive to ensure the region’s Ports continue to support economic development and growth.
The Ports North Board is inspecting Mourilyan Port today and will take the opportunity to meet with the Cassowary Coast Mayor and Chief Executive Officer along with other key stakeholders to further discuss the Plan.
The announcement comes within weeks of Ports North announcing plans to spend $20 million in capital works for the Port of Cairns and undertaking a major investigation into PNG shipping opportunities.
Speaking after an inspection of the Port of Mourilyan by the Ports North Board, Dr Chapman said Ports North was determined to continue supporting jobs, investment and economic development in the region.
“The Port has always been a critical and essential transport and infrastructure facility for the region as well as an employment generator,” Dr Chapman said.
“There is an existing Infrastructure Plan which is 10 years old, so it is timely to complete a new Development Plan that ensures opportunities for development and growth will be catered for”.
“With the continued growth of mining in the region, we are already fielding enquiries from mining companies about export opportunities from the Port of Mourilyan”.
“Obviously, we are eager to ensure these opportunities can be realised through a new Development Plan”.
“We will also be working very closely with the Department of Transport and Main Roads as they assess freight movements generated by the increased mining activities in North Queensland.”
He said “Ports North also wanted to explore the demand for berthing facilities for commercial and recreational vessels and ensure these are catered for in future Development Plans”.
Dr Chapman said “the Mourilyan community and the Port’s users and stakeholders would be consulted on the new Development Plan”.
Bob Katter MP
Member for Kennedy
Bob Katter's Reply
They have no new initiatives. This is not good enough! North Queensland is facing a dire economic future. The high Australian dollar has caused the demise of our tourist industry, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Our leaders need to be proactive in searching out sustainable alternatives for the future of north Queensland and refuse to support quick-fix destructive proposals that not only destroy our natural attractions, but are clearly unsustainable. High-coast marina proposals like Boat Bay and Sea Haven will place a huge burden on the ratepayer of the Cassowary Coast: Once completed by the developer we the ratepayers are forced to take over the financial burden of maintaining these expensive high maintenance projects.
Ratepayers dollars should be spent on projects that benefit all ratepayers and not just a privileged few.
We need a safe boat harbour for the region and we have been given one naturally, it is Mourilyan Harbour. We also need a prime tourist attraction and we have one, it is Mourilyan Harbour. We need a center for economic development and we have one, it is Mourilyan Harbour.