Support aired for Townsville Port privatisation

North Queensland’s peak economic lobby group says the privatisation of the Townsville Port could reap massive economic benefits for the region.

The Queensland Government is currently reviewing its assets and has flagged the Townsville Port to be sold or put on long-term lease.

Townsville Enterprise Limited (TEL) has this week decided to support the idea.

TEL spokesman David Kippin says the port needs investment for infrastructure, that the state is unable to provide.

He says a private investor will help the port grow and increase productivity.

“The injection of capital that would be unlocked by opening it up to private ownership is just what the port needs to increase its efficiencies and generate the potential that the port has to drive economic outcomes,” he said.

“To keep growing and to keep delivering economic returns, we need to have investment in infrastructures.”

Mr Kippin says a private investor could see massive increases in productivity and economic benefits for north Queensland.

He says any privatisation deal should include the Mount Isa to Townsville railway line as it is the port’s principal supply line.

Premier Campbell Newman says any decision about privatising the Townsville Port will be taken to the people.

“I know there are many advocates for this and it’s the case the Government has said we are going to look at it,” he said.

“But I’m very mindful that Queenslanders are very suspicious of these sorts of things.”

Mr Newman says a decision about the future of the port will not be made in this term of Government.

“If we are planning to sell anything the State Government owns and the people of Queensland own, we will go to an election saying this is what we’re proposing and people can judge us, make a call on us in that way,” he said.

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