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Dodgy dredging data shouldn’t justify lifting of fishing ban

Media Release
Larissa Waters 6 Oct 2011

Medical experts say authorities are risking public health by relying on incomplete water quality data to lift the Gladstone harbour fishing ban tomorrow, Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said today.

Queensland’s Environment Minister Vicky Darling yesterday claimed there had been little change in Gladstone harbour water quality in the past year, based on a departmental report.

“The Minister ignored one monitoring site (BG10) showing extreme turbidity, and the report conveniently excluded more recent Gladstone Ports Corporation data from September showing three other sites (P2, ST1 and QE4) with extreme turbidity,” Senator Waters said.

“We know that fish sickness can be caused by poor water quality – and there’s been 1.7 million cubic metres of dredging since August 2011.

“Despite the critical situation, state and federal governments have refused to halt the dredging, with 44 million cubic metres more dredging scheduled, to facilitate LNG export.

“While Queensland Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace is claiming fish in Gladstone harbour are now safe to eat, Gladstone fishermen say they are still pulling many diseased fish out of the harbour and that the government is falsifying sick fish numbers.

“When both state and federal governments are demonstrating that they will not hesitate to put the interests of LNG ahead of public safety, it’s no wonder that people are rapidly losing trust in the Government to manage this health and environmental crisis.

“The Government is determined to allow mass dredging and LNG development to continue in Gladstone Harbour – but at what cost?”

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