Government Fast-Tracks Reef Destruction, Greens Say

 

The federal Environment Minister is only giving the public ten business days, starting today, to comment on the Newman Government’s plan to dump the Abbot Point dredge sludge on or near wetlands on the Great Barrier Reef coastline, announced Australian Greens.

It’s insulting that Greg Hunt cares so little about what the community thinks that he has limited the public submission period for the environmental impact reports to just 10 business days, and refuses to require a full environmental impact statement,Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

The reports are 2370 pages long and with only 10 business days available to read, analyse and provide comments, that means reading 237 pages a day, all during the end-of-year period which is very busy for many people.

“The Newman Government wants to dump the Abbot Point dredge sludge on or near the Caley Valley wetlands, which are nationally significant, natural filters for the Reef, a fish breeding site and important shorebird habitat.

“Despite the Reef-side wetlands’ environmental significance, Minister Hunt is only giving the community, independent scientists and affected industries two weeks to voice their opposition.

“What’s more the environmental impact reports have been quietly published on the Queensland Government’s website without a media release and are absent from the Federal Government’s website.

“Obviously the Newman and Abbott governments only want to hear from the big mining companies, and are blocking their ears to everyone who cares about protecting the Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Waters said.

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