A re-elected Bligh Government would grant $50,000 to Cassowary Coast Regional Council for a jointly-funded feasibility study into dredging of Johnstone River, Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said today.

“Dredging of Johnstone River could mean huge economic benefits for the region so it’s worth investigating but we need to make sure any project would be done right,” Mr Pitt said.

“There are many factors to consider such as coastal dynamics of the river mouth, engineering options and environmental issues, and those would be examined in a feasibility study.

“The benefits of better access to fishing and cruise vessels need to be weighed up against any potential impacts.

“When I asked former Environment Minister Kate Jones to visit The Coconuts last April, I gave my support as the local member to a feasibility study and I have been actively working on this since that time.”

Mr Pitt said a Labor Government would be willing to partner with Council on this issue and the offer of $50,000 was dependent on Council matching the funding 50/50.

“Although I have not been afforded the courtesy of a copy of the Chamber’s scoping study to look at their costings in detail, I’m advised a feasibility study can be carried out for around $100,000,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said Labor would want to be fully-informed before considering any dredging project and a feasibility study is the responsible thing to do.

“That’s in stark contrast to Campbell Newman and the LNP which has recklessly committed to dredging of Trinity Inlet without knowing any of the facts. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

“Some have described the dredging proposal as environmentally damaging and a waste of money. That’s why we it’s important to undertake a feasibility study – to know the real costs both in dollar terms and to the environment

“Dredging is also expensive in terms of set-up and on-going costs so that would also need to be considered once a feasibility study is completed.”

The State’s contribution to the feasibility study will be sourced from the Marine Infrastructure Program.