Following yesterday’s challenge by the Greens on their pay-for-dumping plan, the Government is now facing pressure from the fossil fuel mining giants to keep dumping for free in Australia’s greatest tourism asset, the Great Barrier Reef.
“Coal and coal seam gas companies are crying poor because they want to keep dumping for free, while the Greens say the Reef is too economically and ecologically valuable to be turned into a marine rubbish dump,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“The pay-for-dumping plan is the latest instalment in the Government’s program of destruction for the Great Barrier Reef through approving unprecedented dredging and shipping for fossil fuel exports.
“In response to my questioning yesterday, the Minister was unable to cite any safeguards to stop this proposed fee being anything other than an incentive for the marine park authority to approve more dumping to bolster their inadequate budget.
“The Minister against the Environment, Tony Burke, has said dumping is a last resort – so why is there already 22 million cubic metres approved for dumping in the World Heritage Area?
“11 million cubic metres of that off-shore dumping is approved for the Gladstone harbour dredging for coal and gas export, where conveniently, Gladstone Ports Corporation’s biggest cutter-section dredge, the Al Mahaar, has broken two weeks before UNESCO are due to inspect the contaminated harbour – clearing the water in time for their visit, before dredging resumes when they go.”