Greens: Concerns Grow Over Taxpayer Sludge Fund

Senator Larissa Waters

The old parties have today refused to support an Australian Greens’ motion calling on the Abbott Government to rule out using federal taxpayer funders to pay the big mining companies to dump their dredge sludge on wetlands for the Abbot Point coal port.

“The Newman Government wants to use state and federal taxpayer money to pay for the big mining companies to dump their sludge spoil in or near the nationally significant Caley Valley wetlands,” said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson.

While the Newman Government has finally realised it’s unacceptable to dump the Abbot Point dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef, they’ve now moved on the second most damaging option and they want taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Setting up a taxpayer sludge fund to pay for wetlands to be made into a dump ground so that some big mining companies can export coal through our Reef would be an absolute disgrace.

“With the global demand for coal dwindling, why should Queenslanders have to put in for a port that threatens our reef and wetlands and is set to become a stranded asset anyway?

“The stunning Caley Valley wetlands are habitat to threatened migratory shorebird species and act as an important part of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem by filtering water running into the Reef.

“The Abbot Point dredge sludge needs to be safely disposed further inland, where it won’t impact wetlands or shoreline habitat, and paid for in full by the big mining companies who are the only ones benefiting with their private profits.

“Even with safe disposal, the Abbot Point project would still impact the Reef through dredging, a dramatic increase in shipping, and through the export of millions of tonnes of coal to exacerbate climate change.

“We should not be building the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef in an age of global warming,” Senator Waters said.

Press Release, October 02, 2014

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