QRC: Another Policy Fly-Over from Greens (Australia)

Another Policy Fly-Over from Greens

Today’s ‘fly-over’ of Abbot Point coal terminal by the Greens leader is symptomatic of a party blissfully remote from north Queenslanders and the reality of working alongside the Great Barrier Reef, according to Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche.

‘Senator Milne’s choice of Airlie Beach to launch a policy aimed at shutting down the north’s export industries shows the Greens have nothing in common with the region or its hard-working communities,’ he said.

If the Senator invested a little more time driving to Bowen, she would find a community of more than 10,000 people overwhelmingly supporting the managed expansion of Abbot Point.

‘Senator Milne would have learned that the Abbot Point expansion is not only consistent with the recommendations of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee but has lifted the environmental bar by incorporating 16 separate studies into a cumulative impact assessment process.

‘Senator Milne would have learned that there are no plans to dredge the Great Barrier Reef – some 50 kilometres away – or dump port dredge spoil on the reef or seagrass meadows.

‘Locals would have told her that moving river sediment to land is a potential environmental nightmare as the region’s naturally occurring waterlogged soils oxidise and leach acid.’

Mr Roche said the Greens and anti-industry activists were fixated on demonising port dredging, despite it being integral to multiple-use management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for almost 40 years.

‘Dredging is the new bogeyman for anti-industry activists, as evidenced by their well-funded, deceitful television, print and social media campaigns.

‘Stop dredging and you shut down 11 commercial ports servicing one million people from Gladstone to Cape York.

Mr Roche said it was time to put the real facts about port development and dredging in the spotlight.

Point one is that in an average year, 8.8 million tonnes of river catchment sediment washes into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

‘Curtailing this inflow of nutrient-rich sediment is the focus of numerous scientific and community programs going to the heart of the reef’s ongoing health and protection.

‘By contrast, the Abbot Point dredging proposal involves three separate campaigns over an estimated five years lasting up to four weeks each – not the relocation of three million cubic metres at once.

‘Then there’s the track record of port operators like North Queensland Bulk Ports. They have managed 19 dredging projects in the marine park since 2002 without incident, including the 2006 relocation of around nine million cubic metres of material at Hay Point.

‘An independent review of that program concluded there were no significant or long term environmental impacts from the dredging, only a temporary increase in water turbidity (or cloudiness) during the dredging itself. There were no reported impacts on fishery values.

‘We are now three major reports discounting the impact of port dredging on fish health in the wake of major flooding of Gladstone Harbour in January 2011.

‘The bottom line is that in defiance of the facts, the Greens and their activist supporters are pursuing an ideological objective of shutting down Queensland’s coal and gas industries and by proxy, export income worth $40 billion in 2011-12.’


Source: qrc.org, August 16, 2013