A CAPE York company has been awarded the contract to replace 30 marine beacons in Weipa and Cairns.
The Weipa-based Carpentaria Contracting will be tasked with replacing 12 beacons in Cairns and 18 in Weipa.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the $5.3 million project would see the beacons upgraded over the next 12 months.
“Safety on the water is paramount, with beacons playing a big role in guiding ships safely into and out of our ports,” he said.
“The project will see 30 beacons upgraded in the vicinity of Cairns and Weipa ports, which are key to the Far North Queensland economy.
“They directly support national and international shipping movements as well as guiding local commercial and recreational boating communities.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the $5.3 million investment would provide a welcome boost to the local economy and support jobs.
“Maritime Safety Queensland has awarded the delivery contract for this important project to Carpentaria Contracting, who have been in the industry for over 25 years,” Mr Healy said.
“The government is proud to support local workforces as we continue our strong economic recovery from COVID-19.
“This project is great news for employment and the economy in the Far North at a time when it is looking to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.
“New beacons will ensure vessels enter and exit the port zones safely, and minimise the risk of damage to the extraordinary reef environment in our region.
“The Great Barrier Reef is our region’s premier natural asset, one of the great wonders of the world, and we need to do all we can to protect it.”
Carpentaria Contracting owner Vance Wallin said it was an important contract that would support existing jobs and create new roles.
“We definitely need to hire some people for this job,” he said.
“Crane operators and riggers are some of the positions that we’ll recruit for.”
Mr Wallin said work would begin on the Cairns beacons first, followed by Weipa.
“Getting materials is the hardest bit; there’s a bit of a wait,” he said.
“It’s our biggest marine contract to date and we love working locally and looking after the communities that we live in.
“We replaced six beacons in Weipa in 2019 and last year we did three in Karumba, so we have the experience.”
The existing beacons serving the ports are between 30 and 50 years old.
The new beacons will have solar marine lanterns and stainless steel ladders – lasting three times longer than the current galvanised ladders.
They will also be clad in protective heavy-duty fibreglass jacket systems to reduce corrosion.