The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the Queensland government backflip on its support to dump over three million tonnes of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, but said there was still one hundred million tonnes of sad and mud to be dredged in the waters of the world’s most iconic Reef.
Felicity Wishart, the AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said that the government’s announcement shows they haven’t completely ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence about the impacts of dumping or the tide of public opinion since approval was given for dredging at Abbot Point.
“We welcome the announcement to spare the Great Barrier Reef 3 million cubic metres of spoil dumping.
“There is widespread concern about the impacts of dredging, dumping and increased shipping along the Reef. Today’s announcement is an important step forward, but it is not without risk.
“We have seen the issues with dumping dredge spoil for land reclamation in Gladstone Harbour, when the dredged material leaked back into the water, causing further damage.
“The government is hoping to fast track approval of this new land based dumping option at Abbot Point just as occurred at Gladstone.
“The Reef is in poor health. The science shows that dredging and dumping will make that worse. Dredging will destroys and damages seagrass beds, the feeding grounds for turtles and dugongs.
“The government is committed to more mega-ports along the coastline while current ports are operating below capacity. This is going to damage the Reef and it is going to damage the tourism industry that provides $6 billion each year and 63,000 jobs.
“We are also alarmed at reports that the state government is planning to pay for the cost of treating the dredge spoil on land. It is totally unacceptable for tax payers to be asked to foot the bill for industry. This is more special treatment for the mining industry.
“The government needs to put the Reef, not the mining industry first. It must follow up this initiative by banning all dumping in the Reef World Heritage Area”, said Ms Wishart.
For more information please call Adrian Dodd on 041726476
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