10
May

Second chance to future proof Karumba Port

 

With the Karumba Port in Far North Queensland to once again become operational, KAP Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter is calling for the Queensland Government to future proof the port’s viability.

The Karumba Port was effectively shut down to large scale cattle exports in 2015 following the closure of Century Mine which had been footing the majority of the dredging costs for the port during its operation.

During the shutdown live cattle exporters around Karumba suffered with graziers forced to send their cattle long distances to embark from the ports of Darwin and Townsville.

“Karumba Port is operated by Ports North but Century Mine footed the bill for dredging while it was operating, ensuring it remained open to larger volume live exporters,’’ Mr Katter said.

“Cattle exporters were able to export their livestock directly to international markets which contributed to the profits of the port and supported the local cattle industry.

“However, when Century Mine ceased their operations, Ports North said there was no money in the bank to pay for continued dredging, leaving graziers and cattle exporters high and dry.

“Ports North were receiving around $2 million a year for 10 years while Century Mine was operating. “Unfortunately no one had the foresight to plan ahead to quarantine the profits during the good times as a buffer against the inevitable shutdown of the mine.

“With New Century coming online and once again commencing dredging, there is a great opportunity to lock in the long term future of the port.

“If action is taken now to put aside the profits the port will make over the next half a dozen years graziers and exporters can invest in their businesses with confidence and contribute to a growing economy and the creation of jobs in the region.

“When I met with local stakeholders last December they wanted to see action taken to make the port fully operational again to both fishing and cattle exports.

“They also wanted to see a management model introduced that would contribute to the ongoing operation of the port beyond the life of the mine.’’

Chairman of the Gulf Savannah Development Ernie Camp said securing the future of the Karumba Port was a priority for the region.

“A long term strategy is something we would all like to see,’’ he said.

“Our businesses and communities would all benefit from a more active and profitable port.’’

South East Asian Livestock Service chairman John Kaus said he would like to see a sustainable business model built around the Karumba Port and cooperation from Ports North.

“The port plays a vital role in supporting the region in terms of investment and employment.

“We know the New Century mine won’t last forever – so we would like to work with Ports North and the Labor Government to ensure this valuable piece of infrastructure isn’t just shut down in six or seven years.

“It has the potential to become a real centre piece of investment and economic growth for the Far North region.’’

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