WWF-Australia yesterday welcomed Queensland Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s comprehensive and ground-breaking policy package to tackle the decline of the Great Barrier Reef.
In particular, WWF said the new commitments to protect the Fitzroy Delta near Rockhampton and to prevent the dumping of dredge spoil on the fragile Caley Valley wetlands at Abbot Point, were a positive move.
“The Labor Party’s promise to prohibit port development in the Greater Fitzroy Delta, home of the rare snubfin dolphin, would ensure the massive system of mangroves, wetlands and estuaries would remain relatively untouched,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said.
“Until recently the Delta was under threat from two major port proposals, so this is a major step toward conserving the region’s values for the future.”
Mr O’Gorman said Caley Valley is a nationally significant wetland and supports valuable habitat for rare and threatened migratory waterbirds.
The Queensland Government has proposed that dredge spoil from the Abbot Point port development be dumped on the wetland.
“Dumping on the Caley Valley wetlands is not the solution,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“WWF has repeatedly called for a longer jetty at Abbot Point to avoid the majority of dredging, with any spoil then placed on land at a less sensitive location.
“We welcome Ms Palaszczuk’s commitment to ban dumping on the wetlands, as well as a full dumping ban in the Reef’s World Heritage waters.”
WWF also commended the Opposition’s renewed commitment yesterday to reinstate key legal safeguards for the Reef – including protection of bushland, coastal protections and water reform.