Turbidity data released today by Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) show that GPC has breached its Environmental Authority again by exceeding the turbidity limit for five days running, and government must now intervene to protect the Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
âThis is symptomatic of everything thatâs wrong with our management of our Great Barrier Reef â on the very day that UNESCO warned Australia that the Reef is only months away from a âworld heritage in dangerâ listing, GPCâs dredging program was breaching turbidity limits in Gladstone Harbour within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,â said Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters.
âThis is exactly why UNESCO recommended that Australia undertake an independent review of the management arrangements for Gladstone Harbour. The existing water quality rules are too weak and even they are being flouted.â
GPC is not permitted to keep turbidity levels in the Harbour above the 99th percentile for more than 48 hours continuously, yet it routinely flirts with this limit when tidal conditions make compliance more difficult â and has now breached it for five days running.
âIt is not acceptable for GPC to blame the tides. The tides are a predictable and natural part of the ecology of the Harbour and it is GPCâs responsibility to manage its dredging program within those limits.
âIf the Queensland Government has any real concern for the Great Barrier Reef, the fishing and tourism industries that rely upon it, or the health of the Gladstone community, it must act to address this clear breach of GPCâs Environmental Authority.
âIf the Queensland Government will not act, then the Federal Government must step in to protect our World Heritage icon from the industrial sludge being dredged up from the Harbour floor.â
Dredging Today Staff, June 4, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment