The Government of Queensland in Australia has revealed its plan to provide a down payment of up to A$75m ($56m) for the Townsville Port channel upgrade project.

The funding is subject to finalisation of an environmental impact statement and business case assessment of the Townsville Channel Capacity Upgrade (TCCU) initiative, which was devised as part of the Townsville City Deal between the Queensland Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “The Townsville Port is northern Australia’s primary container, general cargo and automotive port. 

"The Port handles around ten million tonnes of product worth over A$10bn ($7.4bn) each year, and services 70% of the population in northern Australia; the Port of Townsville is an important gateway for trade.

"Through the City Deal, the three levels of government highlighted the Port expansion as a priority.

"The Port handles around ten million tonnes of product worth over A$10bn ($7.4bn) each year, and services 70% of the population in northern Australia."

“To progress this project, we have been working through a comprehensive environmental approval process and developing a business case.”

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The TCCU project is expected to create 120 full time jobs in Townsville during construction and will support a further 8,000 jobs across various industries that rely on the port.

In addition to reducing freight costs for North Queensland consumers and producers,,the development is also expected to boost the cruise tourism sector by accommodating ships up to 300m.

Queensland ports Minister Mark Bailey said: “This project is one of a number of significant initiatives that will cement the Port of Townsville as Northern Australia’s premier trade and logistics hub, including the Palaszczuk Government’s acceleration of the A$55m($41m) Berth 4 upgrade, which will double the Port’s container trade capacity.”

Townsville Port currently comprises eight berths and handled more than A$11bn ($8.2bn) in trade during the 2014-2015 financial year.