North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP), Port Authority for Abbot Point said that draft World Heritage Committee (WHC) decision overlooked critical assessment data regarding the impact to the Outstanding Universal Values (OUV) of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA).
“While UNESCO clearly recognises the excellent work by State and Federal Government to protect and preserve the iconic Reef – it would appear that the WHC has completely ignored peer reviewed science which has examined cumulative impacts of planned port development at Abbot Point,” said Brad Fish, CEO of North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP).
From 2011 to 2012, the Abbot Point Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) assessed the impact to the OUV of the GBRWHA from multiple terminal developments including the activity of dredging.
This work was peer reviewed by leading experts including World Heritage, who assisted in establishing a robust OUV impact assessment methodology.
“This was ground breaking work in the area of cumulative impact assessment. It was followed by the Public Environment Report (PER) which supported the findings that it was unlikely there would be a loss in OUV or decline in integrity of the GBRWHA from the proposed development,” said Mr Fish.
The Public Environment Report (PER) and the Supplementary had also investigated six onshore disposal options for the dredged material and five different options to extend trestles with the aim to reduce the amount of dredging required.
“For UNESCO to suggest that other options to develop and dispose of dredged material have not been fully investigated is not supported by the work that has been undertaken over the last 24 months and is an overly simplistic assessment of the range of issues at Abbot Point.
“NQBP, as a Port Authority has been managing effective, efficient and environmentally responsible ports for many years. We have never wavered from our commitment to the environment and we will continue to manage dredging campaigns in accordance with international protocols, government policies and regulations and best practice standards.
“We would never propose, nor would any Government, ever approve, any plan that would detrimentally impact the OUV of the Great Barrier Reef,” said Mr Fish.
Press Release, May 1, 2014