Published on : Saturday, August 19, 2017
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt was in Townsville yesterday to announce the plan had been granted State Government approval to move to Stage 2 of its Market-Led Proposal process, as reported by the Bulletin.
Mr. Pitt said there had been a great working partnership between SeaLink and the Government, with the ferry operator to now begin detailed planning on the project. The plan includes a $45 million allocation for a new ferry terminal and integrated transport hub on the southern end of the current site, in the Waterfront Priority Development Area, and $11 million for two new vessels.
“During the construction phase, we are expecting to see about 83 jobs each year over a two-year period which is great news to Townsville,” Mr. Pitt said. “We have seen the unemployment rate come down from over 11.5 per cent down to just over 9.7 per cent and that’s why fantastic projects like these are so important.”
Construction is expected to commence in September 2018, with the final design to be lodged with Townsville City Council late this year.
Two new next-generation ferries are expected to be on the water when the new terminal opens in early 2020.
Mayor Jenny Hill said tourism was one of the city’s greatest opportunities and Magnetic Island was one of Australia’s hidden gems. She said, “We don’t want to hide it anymore. This project will help us push our … tourism offering into the 21st century.”
Cr Hill said the council had been in discussions with SeaLink about the concept of a city-link ferry service which could connect key CBD sites, including the new stadium.
“They have something similar operating at the moment on Sydney Harbour,” Cr Hill said.
“Whether or not we could make it work … we will see.”
SeaLink regional general manager North Queensland and Northern Territory Paul Victory said the ferry operator was looking to the future.
“Delivering a great project like this is all about building tourism and building the viability of tourism in this part of the world,” he said.