Ports corporation speaks out about reef campaign
LOCAL residents and businesspeople are being preyed upon by environmentalists behind a $5million campaign to bring down the Australian coal industry - according to North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) senior manager for corporate relations, Mary Steele.
Ms Steele, who was in the Whitsundays this week, claims the reef campaign is funded by organisations such as Greenpeace and targets communities with genuine concerns about the health of the reef by using them to severely reduce the overall scale of the coal boom.
“Everybody in Australia should be concerned about the Great Barrier Reef and everybody whose livelihoods depend on it should be asking questions, but people are being preyed upon by these groups with a different agenda,” she said.
Ms Steele said ports, such as the one at Abbot Point, were the meat in the sandwich and ultimately the people of Australia would be the ones to lose out.
A SPOKESPERSON for North Queensland Bulk Ports claims some people are worrying unnecessarily about damage to the Great Barrier Reef from dredging.
Mary Steele is the senior manager for corporate relations for NQBP, whom she says has an important role to play in the overall economy of the nation.
“Australia has to have ports, we’re an island nation and to have safe, navigable ports, you have to dredge them,” Ms Steele said.
“[The green groups] are arguing about one commodity [coal], but the collateral damage will be everything that comes in and out of Australia. People like to have their cars and their imports, but all of that is under threat.”
Ms Steele says the state owned NQBP has a proven track record with “excellent environmental credentials” and she is asking the Whitsunday community to trust the corporation when it comes to the expansion of Abbot Point. She says dumping the dredge material at sea rather than on land is the better option from an environmental point of view and something NQBP has the experience to do.
“Dredging and the movement of sediment can be incredibly harmful if you don’t manage it properly but the proof we have is that we have dredged 22 times and on each occasion it’s been modelled and monitored and the modelling has shown in every case, the outcomes predicted have either been less or spoton,” she said.
Ms Steele said re-locating the material on land would cause it to become toxic, where dumping it at sea would not. She said NQBP was a signatory to the international protocol for dumping at sea and would be required to comply with strict regulations and testing procedures.
“It is actually more expensive to do what we’re doing, but hand on heart, we know this is the best environmental outcome,” she said.
“And if you put it on land, you can bet the groups will still be around, it’ll just be a different conversation.”
For more information visit www.nqbp.com.au or the Facebook page for NQBP.
TRACK RECORD: Mary Steele, senior manager of corporate relations for North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), says NQBP has the experience and environmental track record to properly manage the expansion at Abbot Point.