A draft Environmental Impact Statement that proposes dumping Cairns Port dredge spoil on the Great Barrier Reef highlights the Newman Government’s reckless disregard for one of Queensland’s most valuable assets, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Curtis Pitt, said.
Mr Pitt said the EIS was being released as required by legislation. He said it would give Queenslanders a clear understanding of the economic costs and environmental impacts of the proposed project.
“The Palaszczuk Government opposes the preferred option in the draft EIS to dump dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area,” he said.
“The $40 million the Newman Government committed to the project in 2012 was politically cynical and misleading because it was never enough to make the project viable.
“The proposal, which includes dumping dredge spoil at sea, would cost more than $100 million and the land-based dumping options around $365 million.
“It was never fully-funded and anyone who looks at the proposal and its environmental and economic impacts can see why the government is not proceeding with it.”
The State Government-owned corporation Ports North had proposed to expand the Port of Cairns channel in Trinity Inlet to improve access for larger ships, including mega-class cruise ships.
Minister for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said the proposal did not stack up, as it failed important economic and environmental benchmarks.
“The Great Barrier Reef needs to be protected not only as a unique natural wonder, but also because of its economic importance,” Dr Lynham said.
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles said the dredging plan was yet more evidence of the LNP’s complete disdain for Queensland’s environment.