The Australian Greens will move to establish a Senate Inquiry into the Gladstone Harbour environmental disaster when federal Parliament next sits in February.
“With more revelations about toxic leaks from the bund wall and the impacts of dredging on water quality being exposed, now more than ever, we need an independent inquiry into the Gladstone Harbour environmental disaster,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“Given Tony Abbott’s push for development at all costs, how can we trust his Environment Minister’s internal inquiry to genuinely flush out how this disaster was allowed to happen?
“A Senate Inquiry has the power to make documents public and to force witnesses from government and the port developers to appear.
“These powers could prove necessary given recent allegations of serious mismanagement.
“We need to get to the bottom of the Gladstone Harbour environmental disaster and get any cover ups out in the open.
“We can’t let the Abbott and Newman governments allow the devastation in Gladstone, which tourism and fishing operators are still suffering, to be repeated anywhere else in the Great Barrier Reef.
“Mass dolphin, dugong and turtle deaths and outbreaks of fish mutilations followed the dredging and dumping at Gladstone Harbour.
“Despite this, the Abbott and Newman governments have approved another 3 million cubic metres of dredging and dumping at Abbot Point, to create the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Reef’s last hope is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which has the power to knock back the Abbott Government’s shameful approval of even more toxic dumping on the Reef at Abbot Point,” Senator Waters said.
Greens candidate for Griffith, Geoff Ebbs, said: “The Greens are the only party standing up for the Great Barrier Reef against the big mining companies using this World Heritage Area as a dumping ground for dredge spoil and a shipping super highway.”
Press Release, January 14, 2014