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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Master planning for priority ports

Overhead image of port

Master planning for priority ports is a port-related action of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) and mandated under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 (Ports Act).

About priority port master planning

Port master planning guides sustainable development of priority ports balancing long-term economic growth, job creation, environmental values and community interests, while providing protection for the Great Barrier Reef.

Historically, regulation of port planning in Queensland has been limited to land use planning on strategic port land (SPL)—the land owned or controlled by a port authority under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994.

The Ports Act provides a master planning process for Queensland’s priority ports—the ports of Gladstone, Townsville, Hay Point/Mackay and Abbot Point.

The Queensland Government is leading priority port master planning, working closely with port authorities, local governments and other key stakeholders. Transparent public consultation will be conducted as an important part of the priority port master planning process.

Objectives of port master planning

Priority port master planning will assist the Queensland Government to:

  • concentrate development in priority ports leading to more effective management of port development in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
  • efficiently use existing port and supply chain infrastructure
  • identify and protect land and infrastructure critical to the effective operation and future expansion of priority ports
  • facilitate economic development and job creation in regional areas.
info-graphic for master planning considerations for sustainable port development

Image of Priority ports master planning guideline

Priority port master planning guideline

The Priority ports master planning guideline has been developed to help the community and other stakeholders better understand priority port master planning. It outlines the master planning process and matters considered when developing a master plan.

Priority port master planning process

Priority port master planning includes statutory consultation requirements and the preparation of port overlays, as illustrated in the diagram below:

Master planning process cycle. Steps: Notice of proposal, Evidence base, Master plan, Port overlay, Review

View the detailed master planning process

Implementing master planning

The Ports Act provides for the master plan to be implemented by a port overlay, which operates alongside existing planning instruments to guide future development to achieve the long-term vision of the master plan.

implementing master plan diagram

The Queensland Government will work with local government, port authorities, and state agencies to guide the implementation of the master plan at a local scale in an efficient and integrated way consistent with the Ports Act.

Status of priority port master planning

The current status of priority port master planning is: 



Hay Point/Mackay

Abbot Point

Document register

Further information

If you have any enquiries about priority port master planning, please contact the Sustainable Ports Planning team:

Email: or write to:

Post: Sustainable Ports Planning
Transport Strategy and Planning
Department of Transport and Main Roads
GPO Box 1549
Brisbane Qld 4001

Last updated 2 June 2022