The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has condemned as a totally unacceptable reported plans by Premier Newman to pay for unneeded assets that will damage the Great Barrier Reef.
The Newman Government is expected to announce that they will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to assist in the construction of the rail line for the controversial port expansion at Abbot Point.
Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said it will be an extraordinary waste of taxpayer funding for a project that was high risk financially and an environmental disaster.
“We have seen some of the world’s biggest banks reject funding for the Abbot Point port expansion plans, and leading financial analysts from around the world have indicated it is simply not economic.
“Yet the Queensland government is forging ahead, determined to open up the Galilee Basin coal mine despite the coal boom being over, the coal mines in the Bowen Basin closing down and the risk to the Reef.
“Queenslanders need to be told where this money is going to come from? Is it from cuts made to schools, hospitals and the services people rely on, or from the anticipated sale of existing assets?
“Clearly the government is proposing to subsidise this rail line because commercial banks are not prepared to.
“The rail and port expansion plans will see 3 million tonnes dredged from the seafloor and dumped in the Caley Valley wetlands, natural filter and fish nursery for the Great Barrier Reef.
“It will see hundreds more ships crossing the Great Barrier Reef.
“It will also see Queenslanders taxes wasted on a fruitless plan to try to export uneconomic reserves of coal that are better left in the ground.
“Subsidising the Galilee Rail to Abbot Point rail project is a lose, lose proposition that ignores the concerns of the community, the World Heritage Committee, science and economic risk analysis.
“While US President Barak Obama called for more action to protect the Reef, our political leaders are using taxpayer funds to undermine it.
“The community must send a clear message to the Newman Government to abandon taxpayer support for the Galilee Rail project and Abbot Point expansion plans now,” said Ms Wishart.