Today's announcement could deliver more aquaculture investment to the region. Photo: Jeff Harrison.
Today's announcement could deliver more aquaculture investment to the region. Photo: Jeff Harrison.

Major aquaculture player gives new project green light

A LEADING seafood producer has purchased a 7000 hectare beef property north of Mackay which it plans to transform into a major aquaculture facility.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament about the Tassal announcement on Tuesday.

The project is tipped to deliver up to 1000 construction and operational jobs for Mackay and the Whitsundays.

"Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in the world and Tassal's proposal will help drive my government's vision to make Queensland the global aquaculture capital," the Premier said. 

In a statement to the ASX, the company revealed it had acquired Exmoor Station, located 72km south of Proserpine, for $25 million to develop the new pond facility. 

It is anticipated the development will support Tassal's long-term prawn production target of 20,000 tonnes per annum. 

Construction is expected to start in FY2023 for a production start date of FY2024, subject to local, State and Federal Government approvals and permits being granted. 

Despite Exmoor Station being in the Whitsunday electorate, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said he first heard of the development in Parliament on Tuesday. 

"... The last person the Palaszczuk Labor Government would tell is myself, being the only independent MP outside (southeast) Queensland," Mr Costigan said. 

"That said, it sounds very exciting for our region."

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the announcement was part of a long-term investment that would represent major growth in Queensland's aquaculture industry and be a major driver of future employment.

The Tassal development is in one of six aquaculture development areas (ADAs) that the State Government designated and announced in January this year to promote and encourage job-creating investment.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said Tassal planned an immediate $85 million downpayment to continue stages three and four of its existing Proserpine site and would then develop and expand the new ADA site.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the Tassal development would boost the local economy.

"This will be a jobs bonanza for the region," she said.

"This is a further source of income for our economy and builds on our reputation as both a tourism and agricultural powerhouse." 

The Exmoor Station land has been leased for cattle farming for the duration of the approval and development period.