The peak representative body for the Queensland resources sector has welcomed the decision by the Queensland Government to take advantage of a previously unavailable opportunity for onshore dredge material disposal at Abbot Point.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said industry support for the decision to pursue this land-based disposal option clearly demonstrated industry’s commitment to always being guided by best practice and best science, based on the advice of technical experts.
“The Abbot Point proponents had already committed to meeting some of the highest environmental standards for the project anywhere in the world,” Mr Roche said. “The Abbot Point project had passed a rigorous approvals process that was based on scientific evidence assessed by the federal environment department and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). In accord with Australia’s internationally recognized National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging, several onshore disposal options had been investigated for Abbot Point but found to be unsuitable.”
This new option, if granted approval, should address community including tourism industry concerns about disposal of dredge material in the Marine Park.
There is no doubting the genuineness of many community and tourism industry stakeholders’ concerns for the reef given the well-documented pressures from storm damage, terrestrial run-off, crown-of-thorns starfish, coastal development, fishing and over the longer term from climate change.
“However, we are already seeing on display the real agenda of the activist groups and the Australian Greens,” added Roche. “After campaigning vociferously for onshore dredge material disposal, they have already shifted the goal posts to focus on the actual dredging at Abbot Point.”
“WWF is promoting the extraordinary proposition that a giant six kilometer jetty be built into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park creating a major shipping hazard. Unlike the genuine community and tourism concerns, for the activists and the Greens this has always been about blocking coal exports.”
“They are intent on blocking the development of the Galilee Basin, and deny the jobs and other project benefits to regional communities including Alpha, Clermont, Emerald, Bowen, Moranbah, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville from GVK Hancock’s Alpha project and Adani’s Carmichael project,” Mr Roche said.
Press Release, September 9, 2014