The Newman Government’s Queensland Ports Strategy, released today, is an invitation to the World Heritage Committee to place the Great Barrier Reef on the list of World Heritage Sites ‘In Danger’.
“Jeff Seeney says he’s protecting the Reef, except for here, here, here and here, oh and here,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“We already have 20 ports on the Queensland coast where dredging will continue, and this strategy now allows expansion of five of those ports – this is atrocious news for the Great Barrier Reef.
“This strategy acts like an invitation to put the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage ‘In Danger’ list.
“The new faux restriction on dredging has so many loopholes it’s useless. It won’t apply to any of the damaging dredging already applied for which is the very dredging that UNESCO was concerned about.
“And the strategy mentions offshore dumping of dredged sludge just once, to say it will be up to the ports to manage.
“Dredge spoil doesn’t need to be dumped into the Reef at all – it’s only because it’s cheaper for the big mining companies than disposing on land that it’s happening.
“Moreover, the Gladstone Harbour inquiry showed that compliance with environmental conditions of port dredging and dumping was grossly inadequate.
“Yet the Newman Government crows about these weak conditions, which have proven to be inadequate in Gladstone.
“The Newman Government needs to wake up and realise this is a World Heritage Area that employs 63 000 people– not a dredging and dumping ground for the big mining companies,” Senator Waters said.