Gladstone, 11 December 2013: Greg Hunt has failed in his first test as Environment Minister with a trifecta of approvals with enormous impacts on the Great Barrier Reef:
- Abbot Point coal port T0 terminal expansion.
- Dredging 3 million square cubic metres of seabed within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area at Abbot Point.
- Arrow LNG plant on Curtis Island and a connecting underwater gas pipeline.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s decision to approve the rapid industrialisation of the reef is a massive assault on the environment and places the future of the reef in jeopardy.
Greenpeace Queensland Campaigner, Louise Matthiesson, said Minister Hunt has ignored the evidence and thumbed his nose at the serious concerns of scientists, tourism operators, fishers and the World Heritage watchdog about the impacts of these industrial developments and activities.
“By approving this dredging at Abbot Point, 50km from the Whitsunday Islands, the Environment Minister has clearly put the demands of the coal companies ahead of protecting the Great Barrier Reef,” said Ms Matthiesson, speaking from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza anchored outside Gladstone Harbour today.
“The dredging threatens a $6 billion tourism industry that relies on the reef and Whitsunday tourism operators hold serious concerns on how their businesses will be impacted
“You can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy reef.
“The World Heritage Committee will decide in June next year whether to list the Reef as ‘in-danger’ and this decision will cause alarm among the international community.
“If these plans succeed, and Abbot Point becomes the world’s biggest coal port, Australia will be speeding up the climate crisis that threatens our children’s future.”
Greenpeace Queensland Campaigner Louise Matthiesson and Programs Director Ben Pearson are available for interview.
For more information or to arrange interview contact: Jane Garcia: 0434 489 533.
Note to editors:
Greenpeace ship Esperanza is currently travelling along the Great Barrier Reef coast to investigate the damaging impacts of coal port development and climate change on the Reef.
The ship is currently anchored outside of Gladstone Harbour and plans to document the existing Curtis Island industrial facilities today.