Australia: Gladstone Ports Corporation Clarifies Dredging Project Status
In a letter to all Federal parliamentarians and Queensland state parliamentarians, GPC chairman Ian Brusasco has sought to clarify the status of its Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project.
CEO Leo Zussino said the letter outlined that the dredging site is inside Gladstone harbour and is more than 40km away from the start of the Great Barrier Reef.
“We stated in the letter the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) borders the boundary of Gladstone harbour, but Gladstone harbour is separated from the start of the reef by the deep nine nautical mile wide Curtis Channel,” Mr Zussino stated.
“Given that the deepwater Curtis Channel flows on a north-south alignment, it is simply not possible for the dredging project to have an environmental impact on the Great Barrier Reef and our extensive program of monitoring and testing, in place since 1991, bears this out.”
The letter goes on to discuss the second issue- that the dredging is taking place within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
It stated that it was important to point out when the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) was gazetted in 1981, it included all of Gladstone harbour to the low water mark. As a result, every pre-existing wharf centre in Gladstone harbour was incorporated into the GBRWHA in 1981.
“In fact at that time the Port was undertaking a 22 million cubic metre dredging programme in the harbour,” Mr Zussino said.
“Neither UNESCO nor the federal government saw that programme of dredging as a problem at the time.”
Mr Zussino added that the letter went on to say the world heritage boundary in its current position does create confusion in the minds of the Australian public and consideration should be given to aligning the GBRWHA boundary align with the GBRMP boundary.
“There has been no formal request to either the state or federal governments to realign the two boundaries,” Mr Zussino said.
Dredging Today Staff, January 5, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment