Coex­is­tence pos­si­ble

In­dus­try and healthy har­bour not ex­clu­sive

The Observer - - NEWS - Te­gan An­nett te­­nett@glad­sto­neob­

A THRIV­ING port in­dus­try and a healthy har­bour are not ex­clu­sive, the CEO of Glad­stone Ports Cor­po­ra­tion says.

“Peo­ple at the cof­fee shops in West End at Syd­ney can say we have plenty of in­dus­try and it must be a ter­ri­ble place to be but us lo­cals know that’s not the truth, that’s not re­al­ity in Glad­stone,” Pe­ter O’Sul­li­van said.

The 2017 Glad­stone Healthy Har­bour re­port card, re­leased this week, scored water qual­ity a B and sed­i­ment qual­ity an A, in what was “very pleas­ing” news for Mr O’Sul­li­van and the largest port in Queens­land.

He said GPC was mainly con­sid­ered the “ca­nary in the mine” when look­ing at the lat­est healthy har­bour re­port cards, in­clud­ing water and sed­i­ment qual­ity and sea­grass re­sults.

With lit­tle change to the en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors be­tween 2016-2017, which scored a C over­all, Mr O’Sul­li­van said the re­sults showed in­dus­try could sus­tain­ably op­er­ate near wa­ter­ways.

Mr O’Sul­li­van said GPC led the way in en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies and prac­tices, in­clud­ing the world-first re­search un­der­taken with James Cook Univer­sity, which delved into sun­light’s im­pact on sea­grass growth.

“It was very much a prod­uct of the 2000s that peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions started en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing but we started far be­fore then,” he said.

“We weren’t told to start mon­i­tor­ing by a reg­u­la­tor, we vol­un­tar­ily said it’s our har­bour so we need to mon­i­tor it. “That’s our phi­los­o­phy, don’t wait for some­one to ask us to change our prac­tices but in­stead to take a lead role in be­ing a good, cor­po­rate cit­i­zen.”

Although the study was gen­er­ally well re­ceived, Mr O’Sul­li­van said there could be some im­prove­ments to its in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

For ex­am­ple, he said sea­grass species com­po­si­tion ,which scored a zero at the in­ner har­bour, was taken from the low­est in­di­ca­tor dur­ing the study.

Mr O’Sul­li­van said this was be­cause there was one species of sea­grass in Glad­stone har­bour.

“I un­der­stand there’s a sci­en­tific process but in my mind, we need to look closely at how we come up with a method­ol­ogy and score that gives the av­er­age reader the best snap­shot of what’s hap­pen­ing out there,” he said.

Head of the in­de­pen­dent sci­ence panel John Rolfe said sea­grass was slow to re­cover from flood and cy­clone events. Also con­tribut­ing to the D-grade for sea­grass was the in­creased num­ber of feed­ing dugong.

“There has been some sug­ges­tion though that we could ex­plore plant­ing ju­ve­nile sea­grass,” Mr Rolfe said.

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