The Newman Government’s draft Ports Strategy, out today, puts the Great Barrier Reef at risk for the big mining companies, say the Australian Greens.
“Campbell Newman’s draft Ports Strategy won’t stop the big mining companies from turning the Great Barrier Reef into a dumping ground for dredge spoil and a shipping super highway for coal and gas,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“UNESCO is warning that the Reef could be added to World Heritage list of sites in danger next year but the Newman Government’s strategy completely ignores UNESCO’s recommendation to put a hold on development until a strategic assessment of how much the Reef can handle is completed.
“Instead of a pause on development as UNESCO recommends, the strategy says ‘accelerated development will be encouraged and facilitated’ in five priority port areas, including Abbot Point.
“This is despite strong scientific and community concern about dumping 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in this World Heritage Area to expand Abbot Point for Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart to export mega tonnes of coal and accelerate climate change.
“What’s more, the strategy does not put the pristine Fitzroy Delta off limits as UNESCO recommended, instead it’s treated as being part of distant the Gladstone Harbour.
“Already, we’ve seen fish, turtle and dolphin kills, following dredging in Gladstone Harbour. Now, instead of learning from its mistakes, under this strategy the Newman Government is allowing more environmental destruction to go ahead in the nearby pristine Fitzroy Delta and up and down the Reef’s coast.
“This is the latest attack in Premier Newman’s agenda of environmental destruction after just yesterday gutting protection for protected plants, which comes on top of him previously watering down protection for native vegetation from clearing,” Senator Waters said.