Australia: ALP Supports Greens Motion to End Offshore Dredge Dumping
The Australian Marine Conservation Society has welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s decision to support the Australian Greens motion to end offshore dumping in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said the motion to end the dumping of dredge material in the Great Barrier Reef’s waters would be welcomed by everyone who loves the Reef.
The motion states “The Senate calls on the Government to prohibit offshore dumping of dredge spoil within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” and the motion was supported by the ALP.
“This is the first time that the ALP has supported a motion to end offshore dredging. Dredging destroys seagrass. It destroys the feeding grounds of sensitive Reef species like turtles and dugongs. When we dump the dredge in the ocean, we risk killing coral with huge amounts of sediment.
“We also risk ruining iconic diving locations and fish habitat. We acknowledge that this is not government policy yet, but we call on the new Labor leadership to back the Reef and make it official. There should be no dredging and dumping in World Heritage Areas. Dredging around Gladstone continues to damage the environment.
“The dumping of millions of dredge material in the Reef’s waters has the potential to undo all the good work on reducing sediment from farm run off. We congratulate the Australian Greens for pushing this critical matter and we congratulate the ALP for finally getting on board. We call on the Coalition to back the community and make the protection of the Reef an issue above party politics.
“However the rubber is really about to hit the road as there are millions of tonnes of dredging just waiting for approval on the Minister for the Environment’s desk. Minister Burke and Shadow Minister Hunt need to make it clear whether they intend to support this massive dredging operation. We will be campaigning for commitments to end all dredging around Abbot Point and the offshore dumping of dredge material.
“The ALP’s support for the motion will be meaningless if they then approve the dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seafloor at Abbot Point. Abbot point is set to become the world’s largest coal port, less than 50kms from the Great Barrier Reef.”
Press Release, June 27, 2013