The latest suspension of dredging in Gladstone harbour implies a third breach of turbidity standards, showing that mass dredging is clearly unfeasible, Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said today.
“Gladstone Ports Corporation temporarily suspended dredging twice recently when turbidity went off the charts, and I suspect yesterday's suspension is for the same reason,” Senator Waters said.
“The two million cubic metres dredged so far has continually breached federally-set turbidity levels, and it’s only four per cent of the total dredging planned.
“With reports of more dead dugongs and turtles and still no established cause of what’s making the fish and the residents of Gladstone sick, it’s critical that federal environment minister Tony Burke review his approval for the remaining 44 million cubic metres to be dredged.
“Only last week, I questioned federal environment officials in Senate Estimates about the dire situation in Gladstone harbour, but was told that they believe the mass dredging is unrelated to the fish disease outbreak and marine animal deaths.
“This claim is misplaced, given that they are relying on the self-interested collection of data from Gladstone Ports Corporation and the incomplete data from the Queensland Government which excluded key turbidity peaks in September and lacked heavy metals testing since the end of August.
“The federal government should urgently commission independent water quality and heavy metals testing, before the marine environment of the harbour and the trust of the Gladstone community are damaged beyond repair.”