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Palaszczuk Government treating Great Barrier Reef as coal highway

Media Release
Larissa Waters 11 Mar 2015

The Palaszczuk Government's announcement today that it will press on with the Abbot Point coal port expansion is bad news for the Great Barrier Reef and the jobs its supports.

"While we welcome that the dredge spoil will not be dumped in the Reef's waters or wetlands, the dredging, shipping and climate impacts of building the world's largest coal port in this World Heritage Area remain," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"Climate change is the biggest threat facing our Reef and sending hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal out through the Reef will come back to bite it through ocean acidification and coral bleaching.

"Many Queenslanders voted to protect the Great Barrier Reef and they are going to be disappointed that Labor is letting the Reef be dredged, treated as a highway for coal ships, and cooked by climate change.

"Opening up the Galilee Basin is a climate disaster - if the Galilee Basin was a country burning all of its coal would make it the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world.

"It's a sick joke that the Labor Government is describing building the world's largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef in age of climate change as "environmentally sustainable".

"Dumping this dredge spoil adjacent to the Caley Valley wetlands and so close to the Reef's waters threatens this World Heritage Area with even more runoff, especially during floods and cyclones.

"There's no need for this extra port, with existing ports going underused and the coal price dropping so that the mines may not go ahead anyway.

"If the Palaszczuk Government wants to protect the Reef and save it from World Heritage ‘In Danger' listing, it should put an end to more fossil fuel exports through the Reef," Senator Waters said.


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