The Australian Marine Conservation Society and tourism operators called on the Federal Government to end dumping of dredge spoil in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
The State and Federal governments have recently fast-tracked the world’s biggest coal port, less than 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands.
There are more than 100 million tonnes of dredging and dumping planned for the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, if all seven ports are approved and developed, said Felicity Wishart the campaign director.
“We have come to the Federal Parliament today to send a message to out nation’s parliament on behalf of millions of Australians who want the Reef protected from massive over-development, including five mega-ports, thousands more ships and millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping,” Ms Wishart said.
“Today we will present a book of stories from Australians about their connection with the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world.
“People around the world are deeply worried. Scientists are concerned with the impact on the Reef and the entire tourism has spoken out.
“Tourism creates 63,000 jobs and adds $6 billion to the Queensland economy.
“We don’t need new ports, given Abbot Point is currently operating at less than 29% capacity currently,” she said.
Tony Fontes and Tony Brown are two leading tourism operators from the Whitsundays who will be making the trip to Canberra to meet with politicians about the impacts of dredging and dumping on their business.
Mr Fontes said the Reef and the Whitsunday Islands are some of the most beautiful and naturally alluring places in the world, but there was a real concern that if the waters were full of dredge spoil, the water quality would be ruined.
“We already have seen the effects from too much dredging and dumping. We should be reducing this impact by dumping the material on the land,” he said.
“There’s one reason the government is allowing this to be dumped in the Reef’s waters and not on land – special treatment for mining companies wanting to cut their costs.
“When the dredging at Abbot Point goes ahead, there will be a mega-coal port on either side of the Whitsunday Islands.
“Why should these companies be able to destroy our sustainable business, that could last forever, for a highly speculative gamble that could result in so much damage,” Mr Fontes said.
Press Release, March 28, 2014