The Australian Marine Conservation Society warned that fast-tracking of the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef, including mega-ports, dumping and dredging, has gone up a gear today with Premier Campbell Newman announcing tax breaks for coal developments in the Galilee Basin.
Less than a week after the release of the Great Barrier Reef Strategic Assessment, the Premier has ignored the evidence on the fragile state of the Reef by rushing into a renewed push for the industrialisation of its coastline.
AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart, says the Queensland government is going to extreme lengths to prop up coal development despite mounting evidence that the value of these projects is falling.
“The Queensland government’s announcement today of tax breaks for proposed coal mines in the yet to be developed Galilee Basin shows how far the balance has swung in favour of special treatment for the mining industry and development at any cost in Queensland,” Ms Wishart said.
“Premier Newman is proposing special rules so coal projects in the Galilee Basin pay less tax. It is these proposed mines that are driving proposals for mega ports, dredging and dumping on the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Premier wants to subsidise the mining industry and increase the threat to the $6 billion tourism industry that relies on a healthy reef.
“In recent weeks, BHP has pulled out of the Abbot Point T2 development and a Deloitte Access Economics report has confirmed investment banks are losing confidence in Australian coal investments.
“A new independent report released on Monday shows the state already has surplus port capacity, with the likelihood of stranded assets and diminishing returns increased by a push for more port development.
“It appears that Queensland will receive little lasting benefit as the mining boom recedes, but we’ll be left dealing with the damage to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism for decades to come.
“The ruin of our World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is too high a price to pay,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, November 7, 2013