THE Port of Karumba is the only port in Australia where cattle can walk directly onto ships from quarantine yards.
It is also one of the smaller Australian export cattle ports by volume, but one that has provided an important market access option for cattle producers in Queensland’s northern Gulf region.
However, since, the closure of the nearby Century Zinc mine in 2015, the port has struggled, particularly from a lack of ongoing dredging work that ceased with the mine’s closure.
This week Queensland’s Katter Australia Party leader Robbie Katter met with stakeholders from across the Karumba region to discuss the future of the port.
Mr Katter said Port authorities had been paid over $30 million over the past 20 years and almost none of that money had been reinvested in the port. He said it was time to see more reinvestment occur, without with cattle producers had to sell cattle via long road trips to the ports of Townsville or Darwin.
“What Karumba needs is reinvestment from the profits they are helping generate with successful live cattle exports and commercial fishing industries,’’ Mr Katter said.
“Having the port run locally would help fix some of the problems they are facing at the moment, it would be a common sense case of local solutions for local issues.’’
Mr Katter said the feedback was positive following the meeting, but locals want to see more action.
“The locals feel there is much greater potential with the operation of the port than what is currently being utilised,’’ he said.
“They would also like to ensure that the management arrangements for the port are maximising its use and value to the regional and State economy.
“This includes the expansion of live export opportunities and commercial fishing industries.’’
Currently owned and managed by Ports North, the Karumba port would also benefit from dredging to help increase current volumes, Mr Katter said.
Mayor Ernie Camp, who is also chairman of the regional economic development board, Gulf Savannah Development, said securing the future of the Karumba port was a priority for the region.
“Ensuring the Gulf has robust transport corridors to export goods from the region and identifying a long term strategy for the port is something we would all like to see,’’ he said.
“Local businesses and the community would all benefit from a more active and profitable port.’’
Source: Katter Australia Party