AMCS: Major Step Forward for GBR Protection
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has today welcomed the decision by the Australian Labor Party to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Felicity Wishart, the AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said that today’s policy announcement is a welcome acknowledgment that the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is no place for the dumping of dredge spoil.
“Today’s announcement is a major step forward for the protection of Australia’s most loved natural places, for the tourism and fishing industries that rely on a healthy Reef.
“There are millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping proposed for the Reef’s waters, in Cairns, Townsville and Gladstone, that threaten its health and this is an important policy commitment by the ALP towards avoiding such damage to the Reef.
“We now call on Minister Hunt and the Liberal – Nationals to put this issue beyond politics and support the ban on dumping in the entire World Heritage Area, not just the Marine Park.
“The Reef is also under threat from further dredging, mega-port developments and risk of becoming a shipping superhighway.
“A ban on dumping is not going to fix the immediate problems at Abbot Point where the Queensland and Federal governments are fast tracking millions of tonnes of dredging to be dumped in the Reef’s sensitive wetlands at Caley Valley without an EIS.
“These wetlands are home to 40,000 water birds and a sensitive feeding and breeding ground for thousands of reef creatures.
“At Abbot Point, we appear set to repeat the errors of Gladstone Harbour. Following fast-tracked port development, dredging and shoddy bund wall construction we witnessed an environmental disaster with toxic turtles, sick fish and the destruction of the local fishing industry.
“Today is an important announcement by the Australian Labor Party to ban dredge spoil dumping in the Reef’s waters. We are hoping this is the first step in the efforts of all political leaders to fully protect one of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef,” said Ms Wishart.