Abbot Pt draft EIS redoubles debate
THE Abbott Point Expansion Project has once again become a hot topic of conversation in the region with the release of the State Government’s draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Environmental campaigners have criticised the draft statement, saying the Government is not doing enough.
Local resident and Great Barrier Reef Divers spokesperson Tony Fontes said the current plan put the environment at great risk.
“First, there is the dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres of seafloor, including prime seagrass meadows which support endangered sea turtles and dugong,” he said.
“It will (also) send thousands more ships through the reef every year.
“This will escalate the chance of a major accident like oil spills and pollution.”
Howver, State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the EIS showed the plan catered to both the economy and the environment.
“This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver,” he said.
“We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal.”
Minister Lynham also said the statement included “almost 150 commitments to protect the environment”.
Referencing the banks’ hesitation to finance Adani’s project, Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said the EIS showed it was the taxpayer who may end up footing the bill.
“Adani can’t get finance for its mine, let alone its port, so the Palaszczuk Government has stepped in as the port proponent to bankroll the project without any guarantee of getting taxpayers’ money back,” she said.
“The EIS also reveals that the state-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation will carry out the dredging and construction on behalf of Adani.”
However, Minister Lynham rejected this, saying the developers would be responsible for funding the project.
“Importantly, any expan- sion at the port will be at the cost of Galilee Basin developers, including Adani, not Queensland taxpayers,” he said.
The EIS is open for public comment until September 18 at 5pm.
To view the EIS and have your say, visit http://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/major-projects/expandingthe-port-of-abbot-point.html.
Minister Lynham said the State Government would deliver their final Environmental Impact Statement to the Commonwealth Government “in early October”.
DRAFT PLAN: The State Government has released the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Abbot Point Expansion Project.