Congratulations Minister Butler, now please Save the Reef

Press release - 1 July, 2013
Sydney 2nd July 2013: Greenpeace congratulates Mark Butler on his elevation to the portfolios of Environment and Climate Change and has urged him to get off to a good start by rejecting a dredging proposal that would damage the Great Barrier Reef.

The proposal, by North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), would see 3 million cubic metres of sea floor ripped up at Abbot Point near Bowen and dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The new Minister must decide whether to approve the proposal by 9 July 2013. “Over the last year, 100,000 Australians have signed Greenpeace petitions asking the Minister for the Environment to protect the Great Barrier Reef,” said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, Erland Howden.

“Of that number, over 30,000 have specifically asked the Minister to say no to dredging Abbot Point.” “With both the Environment and the Climate Change portfolios to consider, saying no to dredging Abbot Point should be a no-brainer,” said Howden.

“The proposal to dredge 3 million cubic metres of sea floor and dump the spoil on the Reef will only benefit international coal companies who plan to open up the interior of Queensland and rip out even more coal.”

Last week Labor Senators joined The Greens and passed a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This should put the matter beyond doubt and see Minister Butler reject the NQBP application.

“It’s clear that 3 million cubic metres of spoil would damage this beautiful environment,” said Howden. “It is also clear that as Minister for Climate Change, Mr Butler must recognise that within the next decade, the coal dug out of Queensland’s Galilee Basin could be almost double Australia’s domestic emissions every year.”

For further information contact:

Erland Howden: 0408 255 583

Julie Macken: 0400 925 217