Australia: Fast-Track of Reef Destruction Still on Table, Says AMCS

The Queensland government’s fast-tracking of industrialisation along the Great Barrier Reef coast is increasingly out of step with the downsizing and uncertainty from project investors following a downturn in coal prices and community support, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Over the past month, the following evidence for a changing industry outlook has included:

– Global mining giant BHP has withdrawn from the Abbot Point coal terminal development.

– Deloitte Access Economics report confirmed investment banks are losing confidence in Australian coal investments.

– The railway plan to connect Galilee Basin coal projects with Abbot Point has been downsized.

– Greenpeace-commissioned report has found the Carmichael mine project in the Galilee Basin is unviable and the proponent has indicated the life of the mine will be reduced by up to 30 years.

– Centre for Policy Development report has shown existing Qld ports are operating at 65% capacity.

– CFMEU-commissioned report has indicated the surge in profits generated during the decade-long mining investment boom has failed to deliver long-term economic benefits for the community.

Australian Marine Conservation Society, Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart said despite all this, government continues to fast-track developments and give special treatment to the mining industry.

It is increasingly clear that the only thing Queenslanders will get from the industrialisation of the Reef is the mess that’s left behind,” Ms Wishart said today.

The Queensland government is going to extreme lengths to prop up coal projects despite mounting evidence that the value of these projects is falling.

“Premier Newman has offered huge tax breaks for first movers in new coal projects in the Galilee Basin and promised more fast tracking including compulsory acquisition from landholders.

“Yet the consequences for the Great Barrier Reef from the massive port expansion at Abbot Point that would be needed if these coal mines go ahead seems to be ignored.

“Premier Newman and his government have failed to grasp that a strong economy relies on a healthy environment to support it.

“The Queensland government is unashamedly in favour of special treatment for the mining industry. It’s development at any cost in Queensland. And the Federal Government is handing over environmental approvals to them.

“Our governments are custodians for the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s natural wonders, a $6 billion tourism asset that generates 63,000 jobs for the economy. But there continues to be a push for destructive dredging and offshore dumping for the proposed Abbot Point coal port expansion.

“The tide has turned. The mining boom is receding but short-sighted governments mean we’ll be left dealing with the damage to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism for decades to come,” Ms Wishart said.

Press Release, November 26, 2013

 

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