Ab­bot Pt draft EIS re­dou­bles de­bate

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rory Sheav­ils

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.

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