Government ducks decision on Reef protection

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Press release - 8 August, 2013
Friday 9 August, 2013: Greenpeace is disappointed by the postponement of a decision on the controversial dredging proposal at Abbot Point in north Queensland, despite clear evidence of the threats posed to the Great Barrier Reef.

“This is a missed opportunity. The Minister has timidly hand-balled the decision to whichever party is elected on September 7,” said Greenpeace Queensland Campaigner Louise Matthiesson.

“Based on the overwhelming evidence, Minister Butler should have rejected the dredging proposal outright,” said Matthiesson. “While we are heartened he has listened to hundreds of thousands of people demanding an end to the wilful destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, new industrial –scale dredging is something no government should allow and no Australian accept.”

new government study released today confirms the muddy plumes from dredging and dumping can spread much further than previously thought.

“The new study shows the mud from dredging could spread up to 90km, affecting an extremely wide area,” said Matthiesson. “It also re-iterates the great significance and value of Abbot Point for a wide range of marine species turtles, crocodile, sea snakes, shark, pipefishes, and marine mammals including dugong, baleen whales, and toothed whales and dolphins.”

The dredging proposal is also opposed by local commercial fishermen and tourism industry operators, concerned about the serious impacts it could have on valuable fishing grounds just off Abbot Point.

“The coal companies want to push the costs of environmental damage onto the fishing industry, and send their profits overseas,” concluded Matthiesson. “The Abbot Point development is not only a calamity for the Great Barrier Reef, it also risks 60, 000 jobs in tourism, fishing and other reef-related businesses.”

For more information contact

Greenpeace Campaigner Louise Matthiesson on 0406 041 428 or
Communications Manager James Lorenz on 0400 376 021