The much-vaunted upgrade to the Port of Burnie has been identified as a priority project by Infrastructure Australia, leading state Labor to lament the fact that the state government "has not spent a cent" on it.
The $137 million Burnie Export Gateway Initiative, detailed by TasPorts last August, remains at the concept stage according to the 2020-21 Tasmanian Infrastructure Project Pipeline.
The project will involve infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the berth of larger vessels at the port, therefore facilitating significant export growth.
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Infrastructure Australia's latest priority list notes that current capacity and infrastructure at the Port of Burnie were "limiting export opportunities".
"Port of Burnie cannot accommodate vessels larger than Handymax size, which carry less than 60,000 tonnes," the report read. "These vessels are too small to service the supply chain."
"The export teminal space at the port is limited and not fit for purpose, and multi-commodity logistics infrastructure does not meet the port's requirements."
Opposition infrastructure spokesman Shane Broad said the Port of Burnie was "one of the state's key assets" and noted that the IA report highlighted the fact that the port was the "only multi-use seaport capable of expanding to be the state's largest export gateway for bulk and containerised shipping".
"But despite this, the state government has not spent a cent on the project and ... [Infrastructure Minister] Michael Ferguson continues to sit on his hands," Dr Broad said.
"The government needs to wake up and get moving on this and other critical projects."
Mr Ferguson welcomed the Port of Burnie's inclusion, along with the Hobart Port redevelopment, on the national priority list.
"We know that careful investment in key infrastructure is a guaranteed job-maker, especially in tough economic times, and it is one of the most effective ways to reboot our economy," he said.
TasPorts chief executive Anthony Donald said the Burnie Export Gateway Initiative would "lay the foundation for exponential growth in Tasmanian mineral exports to global markets, enabling capacity for larger vessels to berth and ensuring fit for purpose terminal infrastructure".
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