The Newman LNP Government has welcomed Labor’s support to use dredge material beneficially on land rather than disposing of it off shore – marking a crucial step in bipartisan support for protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said Labor’s support for disposing of dredge material on shore reversed a major port expansion decision the party made when in government.
“Today we have the good news that Labor has supported our approach for the Abbot Point Port and Wetland Project, using dredge material beneficially on land rather than disposing of it at sea,” Mr Seeney said.
“This project achieves a win for jobs and a win for the environment.
“Labor planned to dredge 38 million cubic metres of material at Abbot Point Port – more than 12 times the three million cubic metres we have allowed – and to dispose of it in the marine park to create an artificial island for a multi-cargo facility.
“Our plan involves dredging just three million cubic metres and using the material to enhance the existing port land in much the same way as what has occurred at the Port of Brisbane.
“We’re not taking any chances with the Great Barrier Reef, as it’s an international icon that contributes $5.6 billion to our state’s economy and supports 69,000 jobs.”
Mr Seeney said community engagement had begun on the Abbot Point Port and Wetland Project and he invited Labor environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad to be part of the process.
“We have already engaged with conservation groups and indigenous groups on the Abbot Point strategy and all of them see it as the best plan moving forward,” Mr Seeney said.
“Expressions of interests have just opened for community members to join the Abbot Point Port and Wetlands Community Reference Group. This group will provide guidance on key issues and opportunities related to the enhancement and long-term management of the Abbot Point wetlands.
“I invite Labor environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad to come and visit the Abbot Point wetlands and be part of the process.”