Dredge spoil de­ci­sion de­layed

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

NEW Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Mark But­ler has de­layed his de­ci­sion on ap­prov­ing of dredge spoil as part of the Ab­bott Point ex­pan­sion.

Mr But­ler was due to make the de­ci­sion on Tues­day, but has de­ferred it to on or be­fore Au­gust 9.

"This short ex­ten­sion will al­low ad­di­tional time for me to con­sider the pro­ject's po­ten­tial im­pacts on na­tion­ally pro­tected mat­ters and the views of in­ter­ested par­ties, to en­sure I am able to make a fully in­formed de­ci­sion,” he said.

Pro­ject pro­po­nents North Queens­land Bulk Ports (NQBP) have said up to three mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of dredge spoil would need to be dredged then dumped at sea as part of the ex­pan­sion.

Mean­while, the Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (AMCS) has said the dredg­ing must not go ahead due to risk of dam­age to the reef.

"There's still not even a lo­ca­tion iden- ti­fied for this dump­ing of dredge ma­te­rial - yet the port cor­po­ra­tion want the dredg­ing pushed through as part of the fast track­ing of mas­sive in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ments along the Queens­land coast," AMCS Great Bar­rier Reef cam­paign di­rec­tor Felic­ity Wishart said. "Th­ese plans must be scrapped.” How­ever, NQBP chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Brad Fish said the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­mained con­fi­dent the dredg­ing pro­ject would gain Fed­eral govern­ment sup­port de­spite the de­lay in the de­ci­sion.

Mr Fish said the sub­mis­sion doc­u­ments lodged for ap­proval, rec­om­mended off­shore re­lo­ca­tion of dredge ma­te­rial as the best en­vi­ron­men­tal out­come for the pro­ject, as in­formed by com­pre­hen­sive sci­en­tific as­sess­ment.

"NQBP is con­fi­dent in our abil­ity to man­age the pro­posed dredg­ing suc­cess­fully with no long term or un­pre­dicted im­pacts," he said.

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