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Abbott Government’s Great Barrier Reef dumping regulations don’t stop Gladstone or Townsville dumping

Media Release
Larissa Waters 16 Mar 2015

Reports that the federal Environment Minister will today announce regulations for a ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park follow sustained community protest to Reef dumping.

"Thanks to years of passionate protest from the community and the Greens, the federal and state governments are finally accepting that our Reef should not be a dumping ground," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"However, this federal ban only applies to the Marine Park, not the larger World Heritage Area.

"In the last five years, 80 per cent of the dumping has occurred in the one percent of the World Heritage Area that is outside the Marine Park, yet Minister Hunt is excluding that very area from his ban.

"Banning dumping in just part of the Great Barrier Reef doesn't stop the planned dumping off Gladstone and Townsville in the World Heritage Area and it risks other dump sites simply being moved closer to shore.

"Dumping off Cairns currently planned for Trinity Inlet in the Marine Park, could easily be moved closer to shore outside the Marine Park boundary but still within the World Heritage Area.

"While the Palaszczuk Government's proposed ban is for the World Heritage Area, rather than the smaller Marine Park, it's unclear whether it will apply to projects already applied for or approved.

"The Greens are calling on the Palaszczuk Government to make sure its ban covering the World Heritage Area applies to all projects, whether they are already applied for or approved.

"Otherwise the gaping hole in the Abbott Government's so-called ban will go unplugged and the Gladstone and Townsville offshore dumping could go ahead.

"Both the Abbott and Palaszczuk governments are failing to protect the Reef from maintenance dumping.

"Maintenance dredging amounts to more than 1.7 million cubic metres a year under current proposals - the same as dumping the Abbot Point dredge spoil once every two years.

"The Abbott and Palaszczuk governments are also in furious agreement about letting the Reef be dredged up for unnecessary ports and turning the Reef into a highway for coal ships.

"Climate change is the biggest threat facing the Great Barrier Reef and Queenslanders want the Reef protected.


"Sending hundreds of millions of tonnes of climate-destroying coal through this World Heritage Area is not protecting the Reef, it's cooking it, along with the rest of the planet," Senator Waters said.


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