Reef body fight

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

GREEN groups are de­mand­ing the res­ig­na­tion of two of the Great Bar­rier Reef Ma­rine Park Au­thor­ity’s board mem­bers, in­clud­ing for­mer Townsville mayor Tony Mooney, due to their links with min­ing com­pa­nies.

ABC’s 7.30 Re­port last night aired claims Mr Mooney, who works for Guil­ford Coal, par­tic­i­pated in board talks fram­ing ports pol­icy, while the min­ing com­pany ex­plored op­tions to ex­port coal through Ab­bot Point.

It comes as Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt is due to visit Bowen to­day to meet with stake­hold­ers be­fore a de­ci­sion next month about whether to al­low the Ab­bot Point port ex­pan­sion to con­tinue.

The ABC also re­ported Mr Mooney and fel­low board mem­ber Jon Grayson, who is Queens­land’s Cab­i­net Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, had links to NSW’s Obeid fam­ily, who are at the cen­tre of a ma­jor cor­rup­tion in­quiry.

It was widely re­ported last year Mr Mooney had re­ceived a $5000 dona­tion from the Obeid Cor­po­ra­tion for his 2010 elec­tion cam­paign.

Doc­u­ments t h e ABC ob­tained un­der Free­dom of I nfor­ma­tion showed Mr Mooney and Mr Grayson helped set GBRMPA’s po­si­tion on port de­vel­op­ments, de­spite Mr Mooney earn­ing $250,000 a year at Guil­ford Coal as their man­ager of stake­holder re­la­tions, and Mr Grayson own­ing shares in a gas ser­vices com­pany with Ed­die Obeid Jr.

The doc­u­ments also show the port po­si­tion state­ment o r i g i n a l l y pro­posed by GBRMPA’s own sci­en­tists had been sig­nif­i­cantly wa­tered down at board level, with a clause op­pos­ing port de­vel­op­ments re­moved.

The board in­stead re­quested more con­sul­ta­tion with the min­ing in­dus­try.

‘‘ I think it would greatly in­crease the con­fi­dence that the Aus­tralian pub­lic and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity could have in the man­age­ment of the reef if th­ese two men stepped aside from the board,’’ Louise Mathieson of Green­peace said.

Pic­ture: EVE REITMAJER

EX­PAN­SION: the Ab­bot Point coal fa­cil­ity

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