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TasPorts, Infrastructure Australia highlight necessity of Hobart ports redevelopment

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Last month the redevelopment of Macquarie Wharfs in the Port of Hobart was included in the Federal Government’s ‘Infrastructure Priority List’ (IPL) for 2021, signalling its national significance and supporting TasPorts’ commitment to upgrading Tasmanian ports.

The Macquarie Wharfs redevelopment was added to the IPL in February. The updated list cites the problems the Port of Hobart faces and why Macquarie Wharfs redevelopment is a national priority.

According to the new IPL put out by Infrastructure Australia, the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor, the Port of Hobart is important because it “is a major Tasmanian deep-water port that supports a variety of industries, including bulk log exports, container exports, bulk fuel imports, commercial fishing, Antarctic exploration and cruise ships”.

The IPL states that the condition of three Macquarie Wharfs limits opportunities for growth across various sectors and that they are approaching end of life.

“In its existing condition, the port cannot accommodate the Australian Antarctic Division’s new purpose-built icebreaker, RSV Nuyina. It also cannot accommodate the Oasis passenger cruise vessels, impacting on tourism,” says the report. “The port is a critical link in delivering the Australian Antarctic program and developing the Antarctic and Science Precinct at Macquarie Point. This precinct is being developed to consolidate key scientific organisations and support collaboration to advance scientific research in Australia.”

TasPorts Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Casey, says that the redevelopment of the three Macquarie Wharfs is a necessity to future-proof the growth of related industries. “The Macquarie Wharfs were originally built between 1969 and 1975, and while routine maintenance and remediation has been undertaken, a significant capital upgrade is now required to enable future growth,” says Stephen.

He adds that the redevelopment will enable growth in the Antarctic science and research sector, a key factor also identified by Infrastructure Australia.

“The Macquarie Wharf Redevelopment will see the construction of an Antarctic Precinct, which aims to attract further international programs to the Port of Hobart, by enabling growth in the Antarctic science and research sector,” Stephen says. “It is anticipated the delivery of this initiative could generate up to $3.3 million in additional expenditure from Antarctic ships annually and continue to build Tasmania’s reputation as a gateway to east Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.”

A briefing paper released this month by TasPorts on the Macquarie Wharf Redevelopment notes that additional benefits include: facilitating solutions for a variety of industries including bulk log exports, container exports, bulk fuel imports, and commercial fishing; growth for the tourism sector; as well as benefiting Australian and Tasmanian contractors by generating up to 1,000 job years over the construction phase of the project.

Written by Edward Cranswick

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