Greenpeace has spent the last two days documenting the three sites most impacted by this proposal; Abbot Point, the nearby Caley Valley wetlands and Holbourne Island, near the proposed site for dumping dredge spoil.
“These photos show the Australian community just what Hancock Coal is willing to sacrifice to build their terminals,” said Dr Georgina Woods, Greenpeace campaigner.
“Industry claims that Abbot Point coal terminal can be expanded without affecting the unique beauty of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Caley Valley wetlands have been exposed as completely erroneous.
Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was in Airlie Beach this week, and the crew met with dive instructor Tony Fontes, who has worked in the tourism industry for 30 years and is the chair of the local marine advisory committee.
"There are tens of thousands of people like me who make a living from the Great Barrier Reef," said Mr Fontes.
“The current expansion of coal exports along the Queensland coast is putting the Great Barrier Reef and our livelihoods at risk, not to mention the health and well-being of the thousands of animals that live on the Reef."
"Industrial coal port developments will damage delicate coastal environments and coal exports will worsen climate change, causing more coral bleaching," he said.
“The Caley Valley wetlands are stunningly beautiful and alive with extraordinary birdlife, including large numbers of migratory birds and the endangered Painted Snipe,” said Dr Woods.
“Abbot Point boasts a turtle nesting beach and is home to dugong and Snubfin dolphins,” continued Dr Woods. “It also captures history in the middens that trace the dunes running the length of the beach – middens that have been dated back 700 years.”
“The photos and footage taken at the dredge site off Holbourne Island show manta rays, giant clams, rich tropical marine life and coral. This reef could be covered in a sediment plume if plans to dump dredge spoil from Abbot Point go ahead,” said Dr Woods.
“The community of Far North Queensland is relying on Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to stop the expansion of the Abbot Point terminal and protect the Great Barrier Reef,” concluded Dr Woods.
For further information contact:
Dr Georgina Woods: 0437 405 932
Elsa Evers: 0438 204 041
For images and video, visit: http://www.greenpeacemedia.org/main.php?g2_itemId=15055
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