Commenting on news today that a tourism industry body is mounting a legal challenge against the dredging approval for Abbot Point coal terminal in north Queensland, QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said scientifically peer-reviewed studies specific to Abbot Point and of a broader nature were readily available.
“Some 20 scientific studies and appendices covering the cumulative impact of the Abbot Port coal terminal expansion were presented to governments in 2012 and published,” Mr Roche said.
“To date, not one of these studies, including on dredge plume modelling and water quality, has been questioned in terms of their scientific validity.
“Last month, an independent peer-reviewed study found recent dredging and dredged material placements in subtropical and tropical Australian ports had either met rigorous environmental conditions or exceeded expectations.”
Quoting from the study prepared for Ports Australia: “Of the 43 monitoring programs reviewed, 62% reported impacts that were consistent with approvals, 21% reported impacts less than approved, 5% reported impacts that were greater than approved and, in 12% of the cases, impacts could not be determined primarily due to extreme weather effects.”
Mr Roche said Queensland’s shipping channels were of equal importance to road and rail networks and that dredging was an essential part of port operation in Australia and globally.
“The message from Queensland is as clear as it has ever been – no dredging of coral reefs and no disposal of dredge spoil on coral reefs or other environmentally sensitive areas.”
Mr Roche said he hoped a new round of “infomercials” putting the Abbot Point coal terminal dredging program into geographical perspective would assist the public in becoming better informed about the facts surrounding current and future management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“The state government’s ReefFacts website and QRC’s Working Alongside the Great Barrier Reef microsite carry a wide range of factual information,” Mr Roche said.
Press Release, May 19, 2014