Australia: Greens Call for Independent Gladstone Inquiry
The Australian Greens called today for an independent inquiry as requested by the United Nations into the Gladstone contamination crisis, part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“The announcement of marine parks following a successful Greens campaign is welcome news, but the government must now prevent the mining giants from undermining that marine protection, especially for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.
“As a result of their monitoring mission, UNESCO requested an independent inquiry into the contamination crisis in Gladstone, not just desktop studies based on dodgy data from the dredgers themselves.
“How long will the government continue to ignore UNESCO’s recommendations, and ignore its warning that the Great Barrier Reef stands to lose its World Heritage status? The Gladstone fishing community, whom I’ve met with again this week, has been devastated by this environmental crisis and can’t continue to wait for answers.”
The call comes as oil giant BP was fined more than $4 billion for the Gulf oil spill, and the ship master of the Shen Neng, which ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef in 2010 causing ‘unprecedented’ damage, was fined only $25,000.
“Our World Heritage Great Barrier Reef has already lost half its coral since the 1980s – it can’t sustain more damage, this time from mass dredging, dumping and increased shipping and ship spills,” Senator Waters said.
“The state and federal governments, charged with the protection of the Reef for all Australians, are instead approving mass fossil fuel port expansions in Queensland at breakneck pace and turning a blind eye to the horrifying impacts of mass fossil fuel exports through valuable marine environments.”
Dredging Today Staff, November 16, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment