Master planning for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay
The Queensland Government is leading master planning for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay in accordance with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
About the ports
The ports of Hay Point and Mackay are a single priority port under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, recognising the trade synergies, complementary functions and close proximity. The priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay is a critical infrastructure asset that provides vital import and export services for Queensland’s mining and agricultural communities.
Port of Hay Point
The Port of Hay Point is located approximately 40km south of Mackay and was originally developed in 1971. As one of the largest dedicated coal ports in the world, it is a major regional economic hub for Queensland and services coal mines in Central Queensland's Bowen and Galilee Basins.
Port of Mackay
The Port of Mackay is Queensland's 4th largest multi-commodity port by throughput. It services central Queensland's mining and agricultural industries and has one of the world's largest bulk sugar terminals. The primary commodities traded include fuel, sugar (raw and refined), grain, magnetite, fertiliser and scrap metal.
The Master plan for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay is a strategic document that has a long-term outlook for the sustainable development of the port through to 2050. Long-term master planning provides a strategic and coordinated approach to managing port-related development and considers issues including marine and land-based impacts, port development and supply chain infrastructure optimisation.
The master plan looks beyond the port boundary to ensure port-related development is sustainably managed while protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
Master plan for Hay Point
The master plan recognises that the Port of Hay Point is one of the largest coal export facilities in the world, with 85% of its throughput supporting the global steel-making and associated industries. The master plan also recognises that the Port of Mackay is a multicommodity port and major servicing centre for the Queensland mining and agricultural industries.
The master plan identifies extensive areas for environmental protection at Hay Point. These areas include the ecologically important wildlife corridor linking Mount Hector and Dudgeon Point to Louisa Creek and Sandringham Bay, in addition to shorebird and migratory bird habitats along the north-western coastline at Dudgeon Point.
Master plan for Mackay
The master plan also recognises that the Port of Mackay is a multicommodity port and major servicing centre for the Queensland mining and agricultural industries. The Port of Mackay will continue to support sustainable regional employment whilst also connecting the community through tourism and recreational activities.
The master plan identifies extensive areas for environmental protection at Mackay. These include turtle nesting areas at North Harbour Beach and endangered and of concern ecosystems associated with the Keelys Road wetland.
Master planned area
The priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay master plan includes a master planned area which encompasses a total area of about 8,940 hectares, 3,740 hectares of land and 5,200 hectares of marine area.
The master planned area includes land and marine areas required for the efficient development and operation of the port. The inclusion of land and marine areas supports the management of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and other environmental values that may occur as a result of port development and operations.
The master planned area includes:
- strategic port land under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, managed through the Land Use Plan for the Port of Hay Point and the Land Use Plan for the Port of Mackay
- land within the Mackay Regional Council local government area
- marine areas within port limits but outside State and Commonwealth marine parks.
Six precincts and one sub-precinct within the master planned area outline the long-term intent for specific areas. The individual precinct approach supports cumulative impact management within the master planned area by identifying areas with environmental values where development should be limited, and separate areas that may be suitable for infrastructure and port-related development.
The individual precinct approach will enable the application of priority management measures, as part of the environmental management framework for Hay Point/Mackay, within the master planned area.
The priority management measures include objectives to:
- manage development involving sensitive land uses and port operations at Hay Point
- manage development and operations on port land adjacent to North Harbour Beach at Mackay to minimise impact on nesting turtles and vegetation adjacent to the beach
- support continued access to the beach at North Harbour Beach at Mackay for recreational purposes
- inform appropriate management of the western port lands at the Port of Mackay through a detailed environmental assessment to inform future master planning.
The Port Overlay for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay is anticipated to be available early 2024.
How the master plan was developed
Master planning for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay was a collaborative process undertaken with the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation Limited, Mackay Regional Council, state and federal agencies, and other key stakeholders in accordance with the Ports Act.
We made the Master plan for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay on 21 November 2023. This followed the release of the Draft master plan for the priority Port of Hay Point/Mackay for public consultation from 17 October 2022 to 20 January 2023.
Public consultation for the draft master plan provided the community and industry with the opportunity to have their say on the sustainable growth of the port. Submissions received during the public consultation periods for the draft master plan and draft port overlay informed the final master plan and port overlay.
Following consideration of submissions received during public consultation and further consultation across Queensland Government, key changes were made to the Hay Point/Mackay master plan including:
- expansion of the area designated Environmental Management Precinct in the Port of Mackay in the order of 49 hectares; and
- 2 additional priority management measures introduced for the Port of Mackay:
- North Harbour Beach to afford greater protection to the turtle nesting area; and
- Western port area to inform future master planning through detailed environmental assessment.
Further information about the approach to preparing master plans and port overlays and how these operate can be found in the Priority ports master planning guideline.
From 17 October 2022 to 20 January 2023 we asked the community to have their say on the port master planning process.
Over the 14 week consultation period we:
- held 4 community information sessions
- set up a dedicated phone number to answer any questions throughout the consultation period
- made hard copies of the draft master plan and draft port overlay available at 4 locations.
We received a total of 160 submissions relating to the priority Port of Hay Point/ Mackay from community members, interest groups, industry and other stakeholders. The community provided valuable insights during the consultation process that have been considered when finalising the draft master plan. During the community consultation the importance of North Harbour/North Wall Beach was raised noting its environmental, social and recreational values enjoyed by the community.
Government response to community consultation
Many changes have been incorporated into the final master planning documents reflecting the comments raised during the community consultation process. Key government stakeholders, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation Limited, and Mackay and Whitsunday Regional Councils have provided advice and support for incorporating the findings of the consultation process.
Specific concern was raised during community consultation regarding environmental protection for turtle nesting activities at North Harbour Beach at the Port of Mackay.
Data provided by Mackay and District Turtle Watch regarding turtle nesting activities during the consultation process was verified by the Department of Environment and Science. This information and the significance placed on this area by the local community evidenced through public submissions is reflected in the final draft documents.
The turtle habitat at North Harbour Beach will be determined as environmentally significant and will be protected as part of the master planning process at the Port of Mackay.
The final master planning documents provide protection for turtle nesting activities on North Harbour Beach, reflecting the data provided by Mackay and District Turtle Watch during the community consultation process. This information, in addition to the significance placed on this area by the local community as evidenced through public submissions, provided valued evidence-based support to extend the environmental protection required at North Harbour Beach.
- Last updated 28 November 2023