Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Tassal Group's Head of Supply Chain and Commercial Services Ben Daley and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe at the Tassal farm at Gregory River today.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Tassal Group's Head of Supply Chain and Commercial Services Ben Daley and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe at the Tassal farm at Gregory River today.

Premier says Prossie prawns are shrimply the best

SETTING aside iconic beaches, sugarcane and delicious mangoes, the Whitsundays is set to add another item to its arsenal of trademarks - prawns.

The region is set to become a global leader in prawn faming as works continue on the $85 million expansion at Tassal's Gregory River prawn farm.

The expansion is part of the company's $257 million investment and will lead to more than 150 new jobs at the Whitsunday farm over the coming years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited the farm, situated north of Proserpine, today to check in on the progress as Stage 4 of the expansion was recently given the green light.

"Everyone in Queensland can rest assured that we won't be running out of prawns any time soon," she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk samples some fresh prawns.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk samples some fresh prawns.

"When we're talking about how industries can grow into the future there is no better example than what we're seeing today at Tassal.

"This is great news for locals … (it will provide) jobs in Proserpine, Bowen, Airlie and Collinsville.

"This is good long term, secure employment."

The completion of Stage 3 means the Gregory River farm now has 270 hectares of production ponds.

Stage 4 will add a further 70 hectares of additional ponds and new hatchery infrastructure for production in financial year 2022.

Each pond at the farm holds about four and a half Olympic swimming pools worth of water and about 800,000 prawns.

When the expansion is complete, Proserpine will have the largest prawn water treatment area in Australia.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk took a look at plans for the expansion.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk took a look at plans for the expansion.

Tassal Group's head of supply chain and commercial services Ben Daley said the farm put prawns on the map in North Queensland.

"It's already the largest prawn facility in Australia and we're continuing that expansion," he said.

"From a global perspective it will be one of the most advanced operating systems in terms of being underpinned by technology, automatic, fibre optic cables and systems that will make it a sustainable operation."

Ms Palaszczuk also announced today that the Tassal Group's $172 million project at Exmoor Station, northwest of Mackay, was declared a co-ordinated project.

This means a full environmental impact assessment of the project can now begin.

"If approved this project will follow the full development of the Proserpine expansion and would create Queensland's largest land-based aquaculture facility," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Combined, these projects are expected to produce around 10,000 tonnes of prawns per annum from 2026, doubling the existing prawn aquaculture industry in Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe got up close and personal with some prawns.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe got up close and personal with some prawns.

"That's a $257 million investment in North Queensland prawn farming set to create up to 1000 jobs and has the potential for significant flow-on effects right along the supply chain for businesses across the whole region.

"Queensland has the potential to become the capital of global aquaculture, which would be a major industry in the region, which means local jobs."

The next step in the assessment process is for the co-ordinator-general to prepare a draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement and invite the community to have their say on what the EIS must address.

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Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert welcomed the announcement saying her number one priority was to develop industries that will create jobs for locals.

"Not only would it pump millions into our economy, it would create hundreds of local jobs," she said.

"Aquaculture is a growth industry.

"This is a sustainable sector that has huge potential for Mackay and the Whitsundays in the future."

When Ms Palaszczuk was asked what her favourite seafood was, the staff at Tassal were happy to hear she was a diehard prawn fan.


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