Port authority should withdraw application to dump dredge spoil on WW2 plane wreck: Greenpeace

Press release - 15 January, 2014
Greenpeace is today calling on North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) to withdraw its application for a permit to dump 3-million cubic metres of dredge spoil near a WW2 plane wreck where 14 servicemen lost their lives.

This comes on the same day as the Queensland Tourism Industry Council reveals it has also asked GBRMPA to reject the permit application: http://tiny.cc/amdr9w

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is currently considering NQBP’s application to dump dredge spoil from the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port in north Queensland, and has until January 31 to make a decision.

The dumping could send plumes of muddy water over the wreck of the Catalina sea-plane which crashed in 1943 and also threatens nearby coral reefs at Holbourne Island.

“Yesterday NQBP issued a statement saying ‘the Minister, NQBP and proponents are sensitive to the community concerns about proximity of the WWII Catalina Wreck site to the proposed disposal ground’,” said Greenpeace campaigner Louise Matthiesson.

“If NQBP is genuine about these concerns, there is a simple solution - it should withdraw the application to dump close to the wreck.

“Otherwise they’re trying to have a bob each way, securing a permit to dump at the Catalina site, while assuring the community it won’t happen.

“NQBP should unequivocally rule out the option of dumping close to this historic site.

“Relatives of those who died in the Catalina wreck, Bowen RSL and the National Party MP for Dawson Mr George Christensen have all expressed concern about the site being used as a dumping ground.

“When the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved dredging at Abbot Point late last year he required that the NQBP investigate alternate sites, compare those with the Catalina site and seek approval for the alternate site if a better location is identified.

“What’s clear is that both the NQBP and Minister Hunt are belligerently moving forward, intent on dredging and dumping somewhere within the Reef World Heritage Area.

“At the end of the day, dredging and dumping on the Reef is vandalism and Minister Hunt should do the right thing and put the health of the Reef and Australia’s tourism industry first,” Ms Matthiesson said.

Contact: Alison Orme Greenpeace Media and Communications 0432 332 104

IMAGES: Greenpeace has high quality images available of the Reef, including underwater shots of the nearest coral reef from the proposed ‘Catalina’ dump site.