The Australian Greens placed a motion to the Senate yesterday to establish what the Environment Minister meant when he said he would ‘draw a line in the sand’ on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef.
“Minister Hunt’s vague statement about drawing a line in the sand on Reef dumping is full of holes,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“The Minister refers to ‘future’ dumping without specifying whether this includes projects that have been applied for but not yet approved.
“If the Minister is excluding already applied for projects from his commitment, then it is effectively useless.
“There are so many dredging and dumping projects currently applied for that it would be geographically difficult to fit any more in the Reef.
“As Minister Hunt’s empty promise only applies to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, rather than the larger World Heritage Area, we already know it won’t stop dredging projects near Gladstone and Townsville, which plan to dump in the World Heritage Area, rather than the Marine Park.
“We also know that Minister Hunt’s promise only applies to dumping from capital dredging projects rather than maintenance dredging, so it won’t stop planned dumping in the Marine Park at Hay Point.
“What we don’t know is whether the dumping for the Cairns Trinity Inlet project would be stopped, as it looks likely to dump in the Marine Park.
“However, as this project has already been applied for, we need to know whether the Minister is including it when he says ‘future’ dumping will be banned.
“My motion will give Minister Hunt the chance to make a meaningful commitment – or reveal himself and his government to be utterly wedded to vested interests and willing to sacrifice the Reef and the 67,000 jobs it provides,” Senator Waters said.