The Great Barrier Reef is not under threat from responsible dredging activities such as those proposed for the port of Abbot Point near Bowen, announced qld.gov.au.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Jeff Seeney said the latest scientific evidence on reef health proved that dredging has minor impacts on reef ecosystems when compared to other causes of water quality decline.
“In a week of grandstanding, the facts about the state of our Reef have been deliberately hidden by extreme groups such as Greenpeace which has a sole aim of shutting down the nation’s coal industry, jeopardising jobs and income for tens of thousands of Queenslanders,” Mr Seeney said.
“What these groups won’t tell you is that there is now a growing body of scientific work that identifies the major causes of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef as cyclones and storm damage (48%), Crown of Thorns starfish (42%) and coral bleaching (10%).
“Dredging of Queensland ports has been carried out responsibly for decades and now has to comply with rigorous standards outlined in the National Assessment Guidelines on Dredging 2009. These Guidelines are highly effective in ensuring the protection of the marine environment, including coral.”
Mr Seeney said the Abbott Point proposal had been subject to the most comprehensive state and federal assessment process ever undertaken, and 95 environmental conditions had been applied including the disposal of dredge material well away from coral reefs and other sensitive coastal areas, rigorous water quality and marine life monitoring and a strict marine and shipping management plan.
“It is gross hypocrisy for these groups to steam up the Queensland coast in their diesel-powered, steel-hulled yacht in their campaign against the coal industry,” he said.
“The dredging that will take place is also one-tenth of what would have occurred under the previous Labor government’s proposal, which never faced the same level of criticism from green groups.
“These people need to be seen for what they really are – extremists who manipulate and distort the facts to support their sensationalist claims.
“The Queensland Government understands the health of the Reef is important to all Queenslanders, and we will not allow it to be harmed.
“We will continue to pursue balanced policies that protect the unique beauty and ecological significance of the Great Barrier Reef and allow much needed economic growth in our resources sector.”
Press Release, December 17, 2013