Skip links and keyboard navigation

Sustainable port development and operation

Sustainability and our ports

Queensland port government owned corporations are committed to economic, environmental and social sustainability through:

  • efficient operation of the ports to deliver financial and economically sustainable benefits for Queensland
  • strategic and responsible planning for resilience into the future
  • sustainable port development and maintenance with a focus on continuous improvement to minimise environmental impacts
  • sustainably managing strategic infrastructure and assets
  • facilitating regional trade to support regional development
  • forging enduring connections and integration within the communities in which the ports operate.

The majority of Queensland's trading ports operate in or adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA).

The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) provides an overarching framework for managing the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef until the year 2050. The Reef 2050 Plan was jointly released by the Australian and Queensland governments in March 2015 and reviewed in mid-2018. The ports industry has played an active role in the implementation of a number of port-related actions within the Reef 2050 Plan.

The Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 (Ports Act) establishes a legislative framework to balance the protection of the Great Barrier Reef with the development of the state's ports and addresses a number of actions within the Reef 2050 Plan.

The Ports Act addresses the management of port related development, specifically restricting capital dredging, banning sea-based placement of capital dredged material and mandating beneficial reuse. The Ports Act also requires master planning for priority ports, including identification of master planned areas and preparation of master plans and port overlays.

In accordance with the Ports Act, master planning will be completed for the priority ports of Gladstone, Townsville, Hay Point/Mackay and Abbot Point. The priority port master planning process seeks to optimise port-related development and maximise economic benefits, environmental protection and community relationships.

The Ports Act does not regulate maintenance dredging (dredging carried out to ensure the safe and effective ongoing operation of existing port facilities). Maintenance dredging at ports within the GBRWHA must be undertaken in accordance with the framework as developed in the Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports

Last updated
19 November 2018