The Queensland government should reject industry calls for an extension of tax breaks to any mineral developments in Queensland which would significantly increase pressure for approval of damaging dredging, dumping and port expansions along the Great Barrier Reef coast, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The Newman government has proposed reduced royalties for Galilee coal miners and fast tracking that will increase the likelihood that Abbot Point become the world’s biggest coal port.
The Government is now under industry pressure to provide tax concessions to support other mines including uranium mining, which could lead to port expansions along the Reef coast.
Australian Marine Conservation Society, Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart said special treatment for the coal and uranium industries would see Queensland taxpayers, commercial and recreational fishers and tourism operators who rely on the Reef lose out.
“Port expansions, increased dredging and dumping will cause further damage to the inshore Reef which is already in a fragile state from runoff and crown of thorns,” Ms Wishart said.
“The Reef supports a $6 billion tourism industry and generates 63,000 local jobs. At Abbot Point, local tourism operators are already concerned that proposed dredging and dumping 50km from the Whitsundays and increased shipping will have a negative impact on their businesses.
“Some operators are already asking whether they should continue to invest or sell up before the Reef is damaged to the point that people stop coming to see it.
“Thousands more shipping movements across the Reef will increase the chance of a disaster like the Shen Neng happening again. It only takes one shipping disaster to ruin the Reef.
“Given the recent draft Strategic Assessment report showed large parts of the Reef are in poor or very poor condition, there can be no justification for rapid development of more coal mines and resulting port expansion along the Reef coast and in its waters,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, November 13, 2013