Whitsunday tourism operators concerned about Abbot Point
WHITSUNDAY tourism operators continue to be concerned about the expansion of Abbot Point.
Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry (WCBIA) president Tony Brown said he had been left angry by the State Government’s response to his concerns for greater protection of the tourism industry in the Whitsunday islands from industrialisation at Abbot Point.
He said the Government’s response acknowledged the importance of the tourism industry and its reliance on the Great Barrier Reef – but failed to address any of his concerns.
“The WCBIA represents 75 per cent of tourism in the Whitsundays islands - we are calling on the State and Federal Government to protect the reef and halt mega-port developments at Abbot Point and Mackay,” he said.
“If port expansions are approved, the Whitsundays will be wedged between two of the largest coal ports in the world.
The government has failed to acknowledge that, portraying the Abbot Point port expansion as a positive,” he said.
“Dredging millions of cubic metres of sea bed is not a positive,” he said.
“Once dumped, this discarded sediment won’t stay in one place. It will move and choke coral and marine life.
“From my perspective, it’s not about opposing Abbot Point expansion. It’s about supporting the Great Barrier Reef and the jobs that rely on it,” Mr Brown said.
“We do not want see Abbot Point facing the same fate that has happened in Gladstone.”
Both the State and Federal mem- bers told the Whitsunday Times they would be happy to meet with the WCBIA.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said he was disappointed that North Queensland Bulk Ports had not liaised with the WCBIA.
He said he was trying to co-ordinate a meeting between the two groups but said it was not likely to happen before the election.
State Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said he had long held the view that the region could have the best of both worlds and that tourism and the resource industry could co-exist.
“Both industries can work hand in hand,” he said.
Mr Costigan said he would encourage members of the WCBIA to contact his office.
CONCERNED: WCBIA president Tony Brown is concerned about the impacts of expansion and dredging at Abbot Point.