Calls for com­ment on dredge dump ban

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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