Calls for comment on dredge dump ban
THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is inviting public comment on the Federal Government’s latest proposal to ban capital dredge disposal in the marine park.
The proposal would lead to the creation of a new regulation banning the practice of capital dredge material disposal from projects such as port developments.
Members of the community group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping say they feel the ban is little more than a band-aid.
WRAD spokesperson Eric Oliver said in banning the dumping of capital dredge spoil inside the marine park, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt was acknowledging the negative impact of such practices on the Great Barrier Reef but failing to see the negative impacts of dumping in the larger World Heritage area.
“The Environment Minister is giving the appearance of positive action, whilst actually changing very little,” he said.
“About 80 per cent of dredge spoil is currently being dumped in the World Heritage area, which extends beyond the marine park [so] this is a band-aid response to a very big issue.”
Mr Oliver also says the reef’s 60,000 sustainable jobs and $6 billion tourism industry could all be put at risk if the Abbot Point expansion is rushed through.
“The public don’t want to see the reef put on the World Heritage in danger list and they don’t want to see a risky project rushed through without considering the cost to the environment and the climate,” he said.
“Whilst we welcome the Government’s decision to stop the dumping of capital dredge spoil in the marine park, this decision fails to address the cumulative impacts of unsustainable industrialisation that threaten the World Heritage listing of the Great Barrier Reef.”
The period for public comment is open until 5pm on March 27. Details on the proposal and where to lodge submissions are available at www.gbrmpa.gov.au.