Australia: New Strategy to Protect GBR

The Queensland Government has today revealed a long term port development strategy that will see dredge material produced at Abbot Point beneficially re-used on land.

Premier Campbell Newman said the Queensland Government had been working on the Abbot Point Beneficial Reuse Strategy since coming to office in 2012 and will now ask the Federal Government to expedite the plan’s approval.

The strategy approved by State Cabinet today will create a win-win situation – it will protect the unique values of the Great Barrier Reef and allow for the staged development of the important port of Abbot Point,” Mr Newman said.

Our government made it a priority to develop the resource-rich Galilee Basin to create up to 28,000 jobs and economic opportunities for a new generation of Queenslanders.

“As soon as we were elected we immediately set to work untangling Labor’s confusing web of regulations to ensure there was a proper plan to create the rail and port infrastructure needed to develop up to five potential mines in the Galilee.

“Labor was happy to reap the rewards of the resources boom but failed dismally to properly plan for its expansion. Our government has already cut Labor’s confusing spaghetti mess of six separate rail line proposals back to just two clearly designated rail corridors, and now we are creating the same certainty for port developments.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development and Planning Jeff Seeney said under the Strategy the Queensland Government will make application to the Federal Government for three million cubic meters of dredge material to be beneficially disposed of on land.

In considering today’s landmark proposal, it’s worth remembering Labor’s mega-port plan involved dredging and disposing over twelve times this amount and dumping it at sea,” Mr Seeney said.

We will now ask Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to fast-track approval of our strategy under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to ensure dredging for the expansion of Abbot Point can begin on schedule.

“The dredge material is likely to be deposited at an existing site within the Abbot Point State Development Area to enhance port development, in the same way that expansions are successfully occurring at the Port of Brisbane.

“Today’s announcement shows our government is serious about protecting the Great Barrier Reef and growing the Queensland economy. This plan will ensure we will deliver on both of those promises.

The Abbot Point Beneficial Reuse Strategy will be submitted to the Federal Government this week.

Press Release, September 8, 2014

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