The Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance (KAFDA) were surprised by Premier Campbell Newman’s comments in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin this week.
The Premier has contradicted the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt’s promise on an ABC 4 Corners interview that the majestic Fitzroy Delta area is protected from port development forever.
“The Premier is playing fast and loose with the future of the World Heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef” KAFDA spokesperson Ginny Gerlach said.
The June 2014 UNESCO Report emphasized that the government promised the World Heritage Committee it would permanently remove the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay and north Curtis Island from the Gladstone Priority Port Development Area.
KAFDA is concerned that if the Premier intends to disregard that promise it will increase the risk of the World Heritage Committee declaring the Great Barrier Reef as Wold Heritage “in danger”. This would place the $6b tourism industry “in danger”.
The Newman government’s plan to sell off the lease for the Fitzroy Delta area including Balaclava Island and north Curtis Island to port developers needs to come with a “buyers beware” warning.
This area is inundated at king tides and by its very nature is filled with shallow shifting estuarine waterways that would require major dredging and dumping and terraforming for any sort of port development.
The Fitzroy Delta has already been rejected by two separate companies for port development. Neither proponent submitted their Environmental Impact Statements despite commissioning the costly research and reports into the feasibility of the projects.
“The Fitzroy Delta has been recognized nationally and internationally as a valuable natural asset. It is intrinsically connected to the health of the southern Great Barrier Reef and the economy of our region.” Ms Gerlach said.
“Whose interests is the Premier representing here? Because it is certainly not the local community or the profitable tourism, commercial fishing or boating sectors. Its time for the Premier to stop the double talk and work with the Federal Government to put permanent legislative mechanisms in place to protect the entire area.”
Press Release, August 29, 2014