IF ONE looks at the transcript from Federal MP George Christensen’s address to Parliament June 20, it can be clearly seen that his petition was excluded not because “the Gillard Labor Government refused to allow the document to be tabled” as stated by the MP himself, but because he could not achieve the simple task of properly formatting the petition according to the rules.
This now invalid petition, which allegedly carried 1550 names, asked Minister Burke to “sign off on the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion, subject to the dredged spoil disposal site being approved at later date.” He asks the Minister to approve a massive area close to Holbourne Island National Park to be identified as being suitable for a dredge spoil dumping ground without any studies or assessments being done at all.
George Christensen is pursuing ‘development at any cost’ and is representing the interest of overseas investors before the people in his electorate.
How can we ever rely on George Christensen MP when he has twisted the truth with the petition for his own political ends and done a complete backflip with the offshore dumping of the dredge spoil from Abbot Point to which he was so opposed to?
The initial offshore dump site proposal failed the rigour of public scrutiny and opposition here. It was clearly shown, through the many public meetings and conversations held by Abbot Point Action Group and the 103 submissions presented to Minister Burke, that offshore dumping of dredge spoil is unacceptable and dangerous to our region. We know that Gladstone’s once thriving fishing industry has been destroyed by dredging and we do not want the same for our community.
This latest proposal for another offshore dump site, is situated in an equally dynamic and biodiverse environment within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. However this time Ports Corp want “carte blanche” approval to dump wherever and whenever it suits them ignoring public concerns and the latest science on dredging. Where are the assessments for this area, which is situated within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park? What effect will this have on Bowen’s fishing industry?
As outlined briefly by Ports Corp previously there are alternatives to offshore dumping and these need to be seriously investigated and not just glibly pushed aside. Why do we need to dredge for more coal ports at Abbot Point anyway when it has been operating consistently below 60% capacity? Coal prices are falling and many mines are closing or being scaled down.
The Abbot Point Action Group, residents of Bowen have a properly formatted petition and are accepting signatures from people opposing the dumping of dredge spoil onto the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Visitors and residents alike would rather not see the plumes of dredge spoil drifting on to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays.
They do not want to see Bowen’s fishing and tourism industries, which are reliant on this magnificent and fertile area, devastated by dredging and the offshore dumping of the spoil. Maria Macdonald SPOKESPERSON ABBOT POINT ACTION GROUP