It was nearly two months ago that I held a press conference and called for the Federal Environment Minister to suspend dredging in Gladstone harbour until any link to the unfolding environmental crisis can be determined.
That's nearly two months of unspecified lesions in dead and dying fish. Two months of further dead turtles and dugongs, unknown disease in sharks, barramundi, prawns and other species. Two months of reports of boils and lesions suffered by fishermen themselves and local fishing businesses sent to the wall.
And the dredging still continues.
We've had two months of turbidity going off the charts and heavy metals breaching the national safe guidelines, as the dredging churns up years of industry lying on the harbour floor.
And for two months Gladstone Ports Corporation and the authorities have done everything possible to defy logic and deny any link between these results and the fish deaths.
DERM claims its latest report, showing a drop in October turbidity compared to September, fails to indicate a clear link to the dredging. As dredging was suspended for 10 days in October, I would say this implies the opposite, that dredging is indeed driving the extreme turbidity.
The truth is we still have no proof as to what's causing the environmental crisis in the harbour. If some other cause is responsible, and not the mass dredging and the poor water quality, please prove us all wrong.
Just as long as the State or Federal Government prove right now that the health of the Gladstone community and this World Heritage area matter more than coal and gas profits, and suspend dredging until it's been proven safe to continue.
This letter to the Editor from Senator Larissa Waters was published in the Gladstone Observer, 24 November 2011.