The Past and Future for Coal Ports in Queensland

By John McRobert BE (Civ)

In looking to the future, we must first understand the past.

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was well named. Queensland’s coastline is over 5,000 km long, further than the distance from London to Newfoundland. For approximately half of the Queensland coastline, the GBR provides a barrier not only to the dreaded tsunamis, but to invasion – one of the decisive events of WW II was fought and won outside the GBR in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

But the GBR doesn’t provide total protection from huge ocean waves – these can be generated inside the reef by severe tropical cyclones – and the current selection of offshore ports is not only ill-prepared for future storms, but totally inadequate for future shipping demands. As for defence, while we spend billions on submarines in Adelaide to defend the country from iceberg attack, there is no naval base on the north-east coast of the continent to service and maintain a naval fleet where it could be best deployed.

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