The Australian Marine Conservation Society has today called on the Federal Minister for the Environment to reject any further development applications for Abbot Point dredging, dumping and port development, while Adani is investigated for environmental breaches.
Minister Hunt has ordered a report into alleged breaches by the Indian coal mining conglomerate’s operations at Abbot Point following reports of lack of compliance over preliminary expansion works that were carried out.
Adani have sought approval to build a new terminal (T0) and coal stockpile adjacent to important wetlands, turtle nesting sites and the Great Barrier Reef. This terminal will require the dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of dredge spoil in the Reef’s waters.
The Minister is due to rule on the port expansion plans and dredging within weeks.
Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said the alleged breaches must be investigated and the environmental record of Adani in operations overseas should also be reviewed.
Adani has been facing multi-million dollar fines in India for environmental breaches at their Mundra shipping terminal in the Indian state of Gujarat. In August a government-appointed panel found “incontrovertible evidence” that the company violated environmental clearances and bypassed approval procedures.
“Australians need to be reassured that Adani and any company which wants to operate alongside the Great Barrier Reef can be trusted to develop in such a sensitive area,” Ms Wishart said.
“Government and industry statements that they are committed to ‘environmental best practice’ are not enough.
“We have tourism operators very concerned about the impact of imminent dumping and dredging on their businesses.
“We have scientists stating that port expansion, dredging and dumping can ruin coral and the fragile ecosystem.
“Abbot Point is 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands. This is an iconic and beautiful place – it should not become known for having the world’s biggest coal port on its doorstep.
“The state government appears bent on rushing through these massive projects, cutting the already inadequate environmental laws and allowing the Reef and the tourism economy to suffer the consequences.
“Until such time as the protection of the Great Barrier Reef can be assured, the Federal Environment Minister must put the brakes on further approvals at Abbot Point,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, October 29, 2013