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Great Barrier Reef Authority lets Reef be treated as a dumping ground

The Australian Greens are outraged by reports today that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has allowed dredge spoil dumping in the Reef for the Abbot Point coal port expansion.

The Greens will move for new laws in the federal Parliament to ban offshore dumping in the Great Barrier Reef to protect this World Heritage icon from being treated like a rubbish tip.

“It’s shocking that the authority set up to protect the Great Barrier Reef is allowing another three million cubic metres of sludge to be dumped in its World Heritage waters,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“The Greens will move new laws in the federal Parliament to ban offshore dumping in the Great Barrier Reef.

“The old parties need to stop letting the big mining companies treat this World Heritage Area as a rubbish tip and should support Greens’ legislation to ban offshore dumping in the Reef.

“The Abbott Government shamefully approved the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion, including the dredging and dumping, in December last year.

“Despite the Abbott Government’s approval, GBRMPA had the power to save the Reef from being smothered by the coal port’s dredge spoil.

“GBRMPA has today failed to stand up to the Abbott Government and the big mining companies for the sake of the World Heritage Area entrusted in its care.

“This decision was a test to see whether GBRMPA, the independent guardian of the Reef, is able to do its job under the Abbott Government, and put the survival of our Reef before mining profits. Today they failed this test.

“The dredge spoil could have been disposed safely on land, but it’s cheaper for the big mining companies to dump it on our Reef and, alarmingly, both GBRMPA and the Abbott Government are letting them getting away with it.

 “The news comes as the Abbott Government is about to submit a progress report tomorrow to the UN World Heritage Committee, which is warning it may be forced to downgrade the Reef’s status to ‘In Danger’ this year.

“The World Heritage Committee won’t be impressed that, despite its repeated warnings, both the state and federal governments, and now the Authority set up to protect the Reef, are all allowing the big mining companies to treat the Reef as a dumping ground,” Senator Waters said.  

“The Abbott Government is putting the Reef at great risk of having its status downgraded, endangering the 63,000 tourism jobs that depend on the Reef’s international reputation as a natural wonder, not a dredge spoil dump ground and coal and gas highway.

Greens candidate for Griffith, Geoff Ebbs, said: “Only the Greens are standing up to the big mining companies to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the sustainable jobs that it supports.                                   

 

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