The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) welcomed the release of the state government’s Ports Strategy, which shows an environmentally responsible and sustainable approach to future development, and in particular alongside the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
The strategy is the Queensland Government’s blueprint for managing and improving the efficiency and environmental management of the state’s port network over the next decade.
QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the strategy’s focus on driving economic growth through five long-established Priority Port Development Areas (PPDAs) recognised the export sector’s proud record of working responsibly alongside the Great Barrier Reef for many decades.
“The Queensland Ports Strategy is supported by the resources sector and restricts new port development adjacent to the reef, and containing development to the long-running existing ports of Abbot Point; Gladstone; Hay Point and Mackay; and Townsville,” Mr Roche said.
“The incremental expansion of these ports has been fundamental to Queensland’s economic and social progress over more than a century.
“Their continuing operation under the scrutiny of state, federal and international environmental agencies is fundamental to Queensland’s global trade in coal, minerals, gas, sugar and grain.”
Exports through ports adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef were worth $40 billion in 2012-13.
The latest benchmark for responsible port development quashes the false claims put forward by the WWF in its latest reef scare campaign.
“Once again the anti-resources activists have been caught out in their latest scaremongering campaign that features re-runs of Bob Irwin’s Fight for the Reef TV advertisements,” Mr Roche said.
“All of the false claims put forward in the ad – which we have seen before – are wrong, including the number of coal ships that will export from the ports and claims of fast-tracking mega industrial ports.
“The WWF ads have Mr Irwin claiming that 7,000 coal ships will be ‘crossing the reef.”
“No coal ships ‘cross the reef” – they in fact travel through designated naturally occurring shipping channels.
“The official forecast from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is that by 2020 some 2,450 coal ships will be using the coal ports in the reef zone.
“The Ports Strategy also sends a clear message that UNESCO should be in no doubt over the commitment of the Queensland Government and industry to deliver the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.
“In this day and age, we don’t have to sacrifice one for the other, as many decades of productive co-existence have demonstrated,” Mr Roche said.
Press release, June 5, 2014