The Australian Marine Conservation Society has called on Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reject the proposed Arrow gas processing plant on Curtis Island – the largest island in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said this would be the fourth LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant on Curtis Island, with the three gas plants currently under construction approved by the previous Federal Labor government triggering UNESCO concerns.
“This LNG plant will require substantial additional dredging – a further million cubic metres of dredging. That’s going to mean more suspended sediment in the water, more risks to turtles, dugongs and coral and more threats to tourism,” Ms Wishart said.
“It will also increase the number of massive LNG ships crisscrossing the Great Barrier Reef.
“Curtis Island is within the Reef’s World Heritage Area yet its mangroves and beaches are being destroyed to build gas processing plants.
“The three gas hubs already under construction are suffering from major cost overruns and there are questions about whether there is enough supply of gas to make all these processing plants viable.
“The last thing that Queensland needs is a fourth gas plant that damages the Reef and fails to deliver economic benefits to the state.
“This fourth gas hub is being proposed by Arrow Energy, which is 50 per cent owned by Royal Dutch Shell.
“Shell has recently reasserted its commitment not to develop oil or gas resources in natural World Heritage Sites, yet they appear to be moving ahead with this development.
“Turtles which nest on the southern beach of Curtis Island and dugongs which feed on the area’s seagrasses will be put at further risk from the development of this fourth massive gas plant and shipping terminal.
“Putting all our eggs in the mining basket, as the Queensland and Australian governments seem determined to do, is short sighted in the extreme.
“If we look after the Great Barrier Reef it will continue to support tens of thousands of tourism jobs and billions to our economy.
“We urge Minister Hunt to protect the Reef’s World Heritage area and reject this fourth LNG proposal,” she said.
Press Release, October 22, 2013