Dredge spoil decision delayed
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.