The controversial mass dredging operations, that independent scientists believe are likely responsible for creating a marine contamination crisis in Gladstone harbour, are now planned to increase with the addition of a new shipping passage in the harbour.
âThis is some of the worst possible news for local Gladstone fishing communities, who have lost their harbour, their livelihoods and been denied compensation from the Gladstone Ports Corporation,â Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.
âGladstone Ports Corporation have continually breached their lax conditions, and created a toxic mess of the harbour for much of the precious marine life that used to live there â is this the same body asking to be rewarded for their appalling track record with more dredging and development?
âThis is also a slap in the face for UNESCO, who have raised grave concerns over these dredging operations and recommended in strong terms that an independent review of the management arrangement for the harbour takes place before any new major port operations.
âUNESCO have also recommended that no new developments be approved before a comprehensive strategic assessment takes place â and yet the assessment proposed by the Australian Government is so weak, it wonât even capture this new dredging if itâs applied for quickly.
âIt is horrifying that both state and federal governments are ignoring the advice of UNESCO and risking the Great Barrier Reefâs World Heritage status to lapse into âWorld Heritage in Dangerâ, putting Australia in the same category as countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan and the Congo.
âThe Australian Government cannot allow Gladstone Ports Corporation to damage the harbour and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area any more than they already have â they must deny the new channel proposal by the Gladstone Ports Corporation.â
Press Release, September 28, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment