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Abbott Government decides dumping on Reef wetlands without environmental impact statement

Media Release
Larissa Waters 29 Oct 2014

The federal Environment Minister is deciding whether dredge spoil can be dumped on or near wetlands on the Great Barrier Reef’s coastline without an environmental impact statement.

“It’s disgraceful that Minister Hunt is deciding whether millions of tonnes of dredge spoil can be dumped on or near the Caley Valley wetlands, bordering the Great Barrier Reef, without even properly assessing the environmental impacts.

“Disposal of the Abbot Point coal port dredge spoil on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef at the Caley Valley wetlands is the second cheapest, dirtiest option after dumping the sludge in Reef waters.

“Has the government learnt nothing from the leaking bund wall at Gladstone, when coastal dredge spoil dumping polluted the Reef’s World Heritage waters because of dodgy wall lining?    

“The stunning, internationally significant Caley Valley wetlands are habitat to threatened shorebird species, a fish breeding ground and an important filter for water running into the Great Barrier Reef.

“Not only is Minister Hunt failing to require an environmental impact statement to dump on or near these wetlands, and instead simply assessing it based on paperwork, he also hasn’t revoked the permit to dump the Abbot Point dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef.

“So it’s up to the proponent, Campbell Newman, who is no friend of the Reef’s, to decide whether to dump on the Reef or its wetlands.

“All of this reckless damage is being allowed to build the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef, which would export millions of tonnes of fossil fuels to exacerbate climate change, the biggest threat facing our Reef.

 “The Abbott and Newman governments realised that the community was not going to let them dump dredge spoil into the Great Barrier Reef so now they’ve moved on to the second dirtiest option and are closing their eyes to its environmental impacts.

“The community, tourism operators, fishers, scientists and the World Heritage Committee will not stand for this. 

“The Abbott Government should revoke its entire approval of the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef.

“At the very least it must revoke the offshore dumping permit and require a full environmental impact statement which includes considering onshore sites further inland,” Senator Waters said.

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