The Australian Government’s unwillingness to act on the ongoing environmental crisis in Gladstone harbour was explained today, as the Australian Financial Review reported Environment Minister Tony Burke as saying ‘it’s difficult to find any world heritage values within Gladstone harbour’.
“Tony Burke is risking the de-listing of Gladstone harbour from World Heritage status through negligence, by allowing mass dredging to turn it into a toxic sludge pit and then refusing to investigate the environmental impacts,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“With the multitude of port developments for fossil fuel exports on the books, we are now set to see the Gladstone crisis repeated up and down the coast – can Tony Burke not see the world heritage values of all those areas either?
“If Tony Burke thinks he knows better than the Government’s original 1981 listing of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, accepted by the international community, he should explain why he believes Gladstone harbour, right next to the Reef, is no longer worth protecting.
“He also needs to explain to the Gladstone community why the long-term industries that rely on the environmental values of the harbour, such as sustainable fishing and tourism, must now take a back seat to the demands of the mining giants.
“I will be meeting with the UNESCO delegation tomorrow; as an environmental lawyer with more than ten years’ experience, I will have much to discuss with UNESCO about the long-term future of our World Heritage icon and the more than 60,000 sustainable jobs it supports.”