Australia: MCS Concerned Over Abbot Point Port Plan
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (MSC) has expressed concern for the health of the Reef, with the announcement of a deal between Gina Rinehart’s GVK Coal and Aurizon to build Abbot Point port and rail infrastructure.
Felicity Wishart, the Marine Conservation Society’s Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director said that the port and rail line from the Gallilee Basin would place pressure which was unacceptable to most Australians, on the iconic Barrier Reef.
“Abbot Point is only 50kms from the world renowned Whitsunday Islands.”
“Port and infrastructure developments are being fast tracked by the Queensland Government and people in Queensland are worried about the health impacts of coal trains and coal dust blowing through their communities.
“Local communities along the Reef are also worried about the impact of massive port development, increases in shipping and the dredging and dumping that goes along with it.
“Thousands of ships per year will use the expanded Abbot Point terminals. They will then plough through the Reef – often without pilots.
“The marine environment, and the tourism industry it sustains, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of expanded ports, coal ships and dredging.
“The Queensland Government has slashed environmental protection laws, retrenched environmental assessment officers and is pushing for more coal ports and gas hubs right on the doorstep of the Reef.
“Over 90 per cent of Queenslanders and Australians want a healthy Reef.
“The people of Queensland need to stand up and send their politicians a strong message: that these developments are occurring too fast, over too much area without proper oversight,” said Ms Wishart.
Press Release, March 12, 2013