Burnett Heads is on its way up. Buoyed by industrial and export growth at the neighouring Port of Bundaberg, what was once a tired fishing village is now a location to watch. Burnett Heads town centre has recently been redeveloped and has attracted a major development application for a proposed integrated marina and resort. The Burnett River mouth precinct is a hive of activity. Seafood wholesalers, training providers and various tourism operators have established bases at the Port. The Bundaberg Port Marina continues to attract sailors from around the world and is the site of Oceanfest, one of Bundaberg’s most popular annual events. Australian and international manufacturers and exporters are choosing to invest in the Port of Bundaberg. Crush Magazine recently invited the Port of Bundaberg’s managers to share their long term strategic outlook and land use plan for the broader precinct.

When Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) took the reins at the Port of Bundaberg in 2009, management were determined to unlock the Port’s potential, to facilitate prosperity and growth for the Region.

Acting CEO Craig Walker said the team had been working tirelessly and, over the past five years, the Port of Bundaberg had consistently achieved trade volumes more than double those it inherited.

Ten years ago, Port of Bundaberg trade consisted of only sugar and molasses, and throughput was just 266,192 tonnes. In June 2020 alone, the Port exported 77,000 tonnes of bulk sugar to Japan and in the past quarter (ending June 2020) supplied the Australian market with more than 8,000 tonnes of molasses.

The Port is more than open for business, with regular trade commodities now also including wood pellets, gypsum, and silica sand. Mr Walker said he believed there was potential for the Region to grow, with the Bundaberg Region accounting for 10 per cent of Queensland’s agricultural production.

“There are exciting new export opportunities in rare earth minerals which are abundant in the Wide Bay Burnett Region,” he said.

“GPC is pleased about the prospect of new regular trades commencing in 2021, including bulk ilmenite from North Burnett.

“Beef, pork and poultry, sugarcane, grains and pulses, fruit and vegetable production are some of the agricultural industries which will continue to be important for the Region and food security into the future.”

GPC has facilitated more than 25 projects at the Port of Bundaberg, including new roads, marine safety improvements and community projects, including the current $5.33 million upgrade in roads and drains on Buss and Newman streets. GPC contributed $2.82 million to this important project, with the remainder funded by the Federal Government.

Mr Walker said GPC had also identified strategic Port land to be used for port and other related industry development, as part of the Draft Bundaberg Land Use Plan (LUP).

“The LUP was released to the public in June for review and will provide the framework to assess and approve future developments,” he said.

“We are resolute in our commitment to the Port of Bundaberg and believe it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

After a decade of building the Port of Bundaberg’s reputation, GPC is now preparing for the next chapter, with their Bundaberg blueprint: The 50-year Strategic Precinct Outlook.

Mr Walker said the Outlook would harness the unprecedented opportunities offered by the next wave of globalisation, new energy and technology.

“The 50-year Port of Bundaberg Precinct Outlook focuses on creating the right infrastructure, opportunities and connections, to address future domestic trends and global shifts,” he said.

“We will continue to achieve for the Region by diversifying trade, investing in infrastructure and working alongside local councils and industry.”

The future is bright with more developments in the pipeline, including a marine industry site, world-class marina development and waterfront residential development.

“Bundaberg is a premier destination with its welcoming people, climate, regional beauty and proximity to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. GPC looks forward to exploring unique tourism opportunities with key stakeholders,” Mr Walker said.


Read the Port of Bundaberg’s Land Use Plan and 50-year Strategic Precinct Outlook at www.gpcl.com.au/port-of-bundaberg
  • The Port consists of five precincts, and is one of the State’s 15 strategic ports.
  • Sir Thomas Hiley Wharf handles sugar, gypsum, wood pellets, bulk liquids, molasses and silica sand. John T. Fisher Wharf handles molasses imports.
  • In the 2018-19 financial year, the Port handled 548,278 tonnes.
  • The Port of Bundaberg is situated 19 kilometres downstream from the City of Bundaberg, about 5 km from the mouth of the Burnett River and 3.5km from Burnett Heads town centre.