The state Labor government’s Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports lets one million cubic metres of sludge from maintenance dredging continue to be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef and betrays Queenslanders who voted to save the Reef, say the Australian Greens.
“The state Labor government could have banned offshore dumping of maintenance dredge spoil and required safe onshore disposal options be used, but instead it’s business as usual treating the Reef like a rubbish dump,” said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
“Our Reef is not a rubbish dump, and the recent ‘worst ever’ mass coral bleaching driven by global warming means we need to give the Reef every chance to recover.
“Right now, more than 1 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from maintenance dredging is dumped in the Reef’s waters every year, and Labor are letting it keep happening.
“Offshore dumping ruins the Reef’s water quality and visibility, can smother seagrass beds that are crucial for turtles and dugongs, and the fine sediments can travel for kilometres and damage marine life.
“We Greens have worked for years in federal parliament for a ban on offshore dumping in the Reef from all dredging, and were successful at getting such a ban on dumping of capital dredge spoil, but offshore dumping of maintenance dredge spoil was the last piece of the puzzle and today Queensland Labor squibbed it.
“Environment Minister Steven Miles is kidding himself because his government’s record is inaction and of buckling to big mining companies, putting our Reef and the 70,000 jobs it provides in jeopardy.
“If the Queensland Labor government were serious about saving the Reef, they would take every opportunity to protect it from more pressure.
“They were elected to ‘save the Reef’ but instead they caved into big mining companies creating loopholes to put Adani’s Reef-destroying mega-mine on the fast track while sitting on their hands instead of finally banning offshore maintenance dredge spoil dumping,” Senator Waters said.
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