Australia: King Tides Inundate Fitzroy Delta Terminals
Last weekend’s king tides totally inundated the proposed coal export terminals in the Fitzroy delta. Aerial photographs clearly show both the proposed Fitzroy Terminal and Xstrata terminal sites covered by the ocean, leaving only the tops of the highest mangroves exposed.
The Fitzroy and Keppel Bay Alliance (KAFDA), flew over the area at the height of last Saturday’s king tide and have a series of aerial photographs that graphically show the proposed export terminal sites completely under water.
Spokesperson for KAFDA, Ms Ginny Gerlach said the sight of the delta completely under water was stunning and revealing. She said the small existing general cargo facility at Port Alma looked like a tiny island poking out of a massive lake.
“When you see the delta on these king tides, it’s laughable that anyone could seriously think they could build new coal export terminals here without the need for massive reclamation works just to get equipment and workers to the sites,” said Ms Gerlach.
“The proponents are claiming they can build these new facilities with only minor disruption to the delta habitat”, continued Ms Gerlach. “There is no way in the world this is possible having witnessed the impact of these king tides first hand.”
“Putting aside these kind tides and the predicted sea level rise over the next few decades, it’s worth remembering what Port Hinchinbrook looked like after Cyclone Yasi went through. Imagine how much destruction will occur to coal terminals built on mangroves and saltpans in the Fitzroy delta when a cyclone pays us a visit sometime in the future, which is just a matter of when, not if.”
“This proposal is putting investors money at risk as much as it is risking the natural environment of our beautiful delta and any investors should be made aware of how real those risks are,” Ms Gerlach said. “These recent photos that show the whole place under water must surely demonstrate that a river delta like the mighty Fitzroy is simply the wrong place to try to build new export facilities,” concluded Ms Gerlach.
UNESCO have raised serious concerns with both the State and Federal governments about the proposed coal port development in the Fitzroy delta and have warned the Great Barrier Reef’s international World Heritage rating could be downgraded if new proposed coal ports at various locations adjacent to the Reef go ahead.
KAFDA is calling on the State and Federal governments to recognise the folly of pursuing coal export facilities anywhere in the Fitzroy delta and not approve any new facilities in this sensitive and important area.
Press Release, January 16, 2013