Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) reassured the community that there have been no requests made to any government agencies for the placement of Channel Duplication dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or anywhere within the Port Boundary.
Duplication of the Gatcombe and Golding channels has been identified in GPC’s 50 year strategic vision to facilitate potential future growth of the port.
Whilst the Channel Duplication project has been identified in the Port’s strategic vision, Chief Executive Officer, Craig Doyle said that there has been only minor initial work undertaken and there has been no requirement for any physical dredging to take place. There has definitely not been an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted.
“GPC does not have any current plans or needs to commenc|e physical Channel Duplication dredging for the next few years at least,” Mr Doyle said.
“Gladstone Harbour in its current configuration can handle the current port trade, plus the increase in trade from the LNG projects and WICET coming online. This equates to a capacity of around 140 million tonnes or more with current trade this year expected to be around 90 million tonnes.
“The trigger for channel duplication dredging will be if port trade expands past the current planned levels in the future.”
Mr Doyle said that some initial planning work has been undertaken as part of GPC’s strategic planning process.
“All that has occurred to date is some internal background planning work and preliminary enquiries with relevant agencies.”
Any future dredging plans will involve full consultation and transparency with the relevant government bodies and the community.
There is a requirement that at least 12 months of baseline monitoring take place prior to any EIS submission, and before that can occur the likely dredge material locations need to be clarified.
“The community can be assured that no work will be undertaken without extensive consultation – we will communicate openly and honestly,” said Mr Doyle.
In terms of dredge spoil, Mr Doyle said that GPC will definitely take on board the Federal Environment Minister’s recommendations for dredge material placement not to be in the Marine Park, and that any options of where dredge spoil could be placed for future dredging projects will form part of the consultation process and work stream planning.
“GPC has never placed any dredge material in the Marine Park and has no plans to do so in any future dredging projects,” Mr Doyle said.
Press Release, November 18, 2013