The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has authorised arrangements to transfer specified amounts of coal handling capacity from the Barney Point coal terminal to the proposed Wiggins Island terminal at the Port of Gladstone in Queensland.
This is expected to facilitate the closure of Barney Point, which has raised pollution concerns amongst Gladstone residents for several years.
Coal handling capacity includes port terminal services, coal handling services and coal storage facilities.
Authorisation has been granted to Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited and a consortium of coal producers which the Queensland Government has approved to construct the new Wiggins Island terminal at the port. The parties plan to minimise pollution problems by ensuring the Wiggins Island terminal is better situated and more technologically advanced than the Barney Point terminal, while also providing more than double the coal export tonnage capacity.
"The ACCC considers the proposed arrangements are likely to benefit the public by reducing the amount of coal dust pollution that will effect residential areas and avoiding possible delays to the development of additional coal export infrastructure and the benefits that come from coal exports, including investment and job growth in Queensland," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said today.
The transfer of coal export services from Barney Point to Wiggins Island is not expected to disrupt coal export operations at the Port. After the transfer is complete, Barney Point will remain open to export other goods.
The ACCC's determination will be available from the ACCC website, www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister, and by following the links to this matter.
Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. The ACCC conducts a comprehensive public consultation process and issues a draft determination before making a decision to grant or deny authorisation.
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