LNP Government Allows GPC to Dredge Over Easter Weekend (Australia)
The new LNP Government allowed the Gladstone Ports Corporation to dredge above its licence conditions over the Easter long weekend.
“Then Shadow Environment Minister Andrew Powell made promises during the election campaign that they would take action on the harbour’s many problems but have allowed it to exceed its dredging limit over the Easter weekend,” Queensland Greens state spokesperson Libby Connors pointed out this morning.
Gladstone Ports Corporation is required to publicly post monitoring data regarding turbidity levels on its website because its environmental licence requires it to halt dredging if the level of turbidity in the water is above the 99th percentile for more than 48 hours. Sites ST1 and QE4 were above the limit from 7 to 9 April.
“The health of tourists, residents and workers who ventured into harbour waters was put at risk by not stopping the dredging over this busy recreational period.
“This occurred during the harbour’s most popular annual recreational and sporting event, the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht race.
“It is astounding that the dredging was not ordered to be stopped given the risk to human health.
“The Bligh Government repeatedly allowed the Ports Corporation to exceed its licence conditions without penalty; it seems that the LNP intend to behave in exactly the same irresponsible manner.”
The Greens spokesperson has also asked why there has been no action by John McVeigh, the new minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
“Given the death of hundreds of catfish in the Boyne River last week, you would expect to see the new Fisheries Minister keen to see high environmental standards being enforced for the harbour.”
Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said the high turbidity meant that there were higher nutrient and heavy metal levels in different parts of the harbour and that these were potentially damaging to human health and to marine wildlife.
Environmental Medicine specialist, Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, recently treated patients who had been exposed to diseased fish from the harbour and has advised the Greens that the risk of human infection is genuine.
Dredging Today Staff, April 11, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment