Opin­ions di­vided about Ab­bot Point

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

OPIN­IONS re­main di­vided about the State Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to dump dredge spoil from the Port of Ab­bot Point on the Ca­ley Val­ley Wet­lands.

Whit­sun­day Res­i­dents Against Dump­ing (WRAD) have wel­comed the an­nounce­ment but are con­cerned the new site will still threaten the out­stand­ing val­ues of the area.

Th­ese views are echoed by Green­peace and the Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (AMCS) who say the new plan to ex­pand the Ab­bot Point coal port by dump­ing the dredge spoil on the site known as T2, is still un­ac­cept­able.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen has an­other view.

Mr Chris­tensen says thou­sands of jobs have now ‘gone beg­ging’ be­cause the newly formed Queens­land Gov­ern­ment “fell for a duck pond de­coy laid by the ex­treme greens”.

“The area the ex­treme greens pre­tended to care about was ac­tu­ally a dry flat plain un­til two gun clubs got to­gether in the 1950s to di­vert a wa­ter­course and cre­ate a pond where they could shoot ducks,” he said.

Mr Chris­tensen said his claims were sup­ported by a GHD re­port and anec­do­tal ev­i­dence from the mayor of the Bur­dekin Shire, Cr Bill Lowis.

He also pointed to so­cial me­dia posts cre­ated by “anti-Ab­bot Point ac­tivist group Fight for the Reef”, ask­ing for dona­tions to “help pro­tect the reef’s Ca­ley Val­ley Wet­lands”.

“The last time I checked, the reef was a long boat ride off the coast of Ab­bot Point but I know the ac­tivists would claim Uluru was a part of the reef if they thought it would shut down min­ing in Australia,” he said.

“La­bor fell for it hook, line, and sinker and moved the dis­posal site a stone’s throw to the left, putting thou­sands of jobs back on the shelf for an­other year.

“We can see it was all a de­coy from the greens to de­lay the project fur­ther be­cause they are now con­tin­u­ing at­tacks on Ab­bot Point in an at­tempt to kill jobs and shut down min­ing.”

Mean­while North Queens­land Bulk Ports (NQBP) say they look for­ward to work­ing with the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment in de­liv­er­ing a well-man­aged dredg­ing pro­gram to sup­port in­creased trade through Ab­bot Point.

“NQBP has com­pleted a num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal and en­gi­neer­ing stud­ies on this site, which show that the T2 site and ad­ja­cent port ar­eas can man­age the dredge ma­te­rial from the T3 and T0 projects with min­i­mal and limited im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and on the ex­ist­ing projects,” a spokesper­son said.

NAT­U­RAL VAL­UES: En­vi­ron­men­tal groups say the port of Ab­bot Pt is sur­rounded by wet­lands and coral reefs, while Fed­eral MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen says the Ca­ley Val­ley Wet­lands are noth­ing but a man-made duck­pond.

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