The Fight for the Reef campaign welcomed the start of people-power-fuelled legal action to stop three million cubic metres of Abbot Point dredge spoil being dumped in Reef waters.
In Brisbane, the North Queensland Conservation Council lodged the action in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal challenging the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s decision to issue a dumping permit.
“This is a legal challenge born of the concern Australians feel about the Reef being treated like a dump,” said Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director with AMCS Felicity Wishart.
“Thousands of everyday Australians have financed this challenge – they’ve made it possible.
“We are seeing people power at work.
“From the start we have said dumping dredge spoil in Reef waters is just too damaging because the plumes can be carried for up to 80 kilometres, smothering coral and sea grass.
“Australians were not prepared to just sit back and let the Reef, which is already in a weakened state, be put at further risk,” Ms Wishart said.
WWF Great Barrier Reef Campaigner Richard Leck said the fight to stop the dumping had become the biggest environmental issue in Australia.
“This court case didn’t have to happen. There are alternatives to dumping massive amounts of dredge spoil in Reef waters,” he said.
“A longer jetty into deeper waters, and dumping on land, are options that could remove the need for dredging and sea dumping and avoid much of this controversy.
“The message now is clear when it comes to the Australian people and the Reef: they will not accept the Reef being used as a tip for dredge waste and they are prepared to fight for the Reef.”
Press Release, February 27, 2014