Green light to Reef dumping a disgrace - but conditions will delay coal port plans

Press release - 30 January, 2014
Brisbane, 30 January 2014. Greenpeace says the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority approval of a permit to dump spoil on the Reef is another hit for the World Heritage listed site which will increase the likelihood that UNESCO lists it as ‘in danger’ later in 2014.

“This go-ahead for dumping is one more body blow for the Reef which further threatens marine life, its World Heritage status and Australia’s tourism and fishing industries,” Greenpeace Reef Campaigner Louise Matthiesson said.

“Conditions on the approval require the port’s managers to conduct further studies on the impacts of dumping dredge spoil so close to fringing reefs and a WW2 Catalina plane wreck, and to assess possible alternate dump sites.

“This means dredging cannot realistically begin until 2015, since dredging is only possible during the northern dry season of March to June.

“This is a massive delay for coal projects already seriously behind schedule.

“Green lighting the reef’s destruction makes a mockery of the Authority’s charter which obliges it to protect the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the World Heritage Area.

 “Dumping dredge spoil within a World Heritage Area is a bankrupt development which will understandably rile the public.

“The government’s priority should be to protect a reef which took millions of years to form, not take active steps to damage it.

“Marine scientists have rung warning bells of the consequences of dredging and dumping on the reef, which makes today’s development an international embarrassment for the Queensland and federal governments,” Ms Matthiesson said.

Video and Stills of Reef available: Greenpeace has extensive quality stills and footage of the coral reef closest to the proposed dump site (above and below the water) and other Reef related images.

Contact: Greenpeace media  0418 408 683