Reaction to reports that dumping on Great Barrier Reef abandoned: Hunt should cancel dredging approval

Press release - 1 September, 2014
Sydney, 02 September 2014: Greenpeace has cautiously welcomed reports that coal port developers have abandoned plans to dump dredge waste from Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“If confirmed, this is good news for the local community, the tourism industry and the vast majority of Australians who opposed the plan to dump waste in the Great Barrier Reef Park”, said Adam Walters, Greenpeace Head of Research.

But Mr Walters warned that the threat to the Reef remained and called on Commonwealth Environment Minister Greg Hunt to act.

“If the reports are true, the cheapest, most destructive option for expanding Abbot Point may have been taken off the table - but the threat from coal industry expansion plans is still urgent.

“Expanding the port - with its associated dredging - will bring with it damaging dredge plumes, destruction of sea grass beds, impacts for wetlands, increased shipping and will drive the greatest threat to the Reef which is climate change.”

Walters also pointed to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the project.

“Since North Queensland Bulk Ports first sought approval for dredging at Abbot Point, the proposal has changed significantly.

“One of the associated three coal terminal proposals has been cancelled, GVK’s coal terminal has been delayed, and Adani’s proposal has doubled in size.

“Given the confusion and uncertainty, the only safe and sensible outcome for the Reef is for Minister for the Environment Mr Greg Hunt to cancel approval for the dredging project made under Commonwealth legislation.

“Coal mining remains the greatest long term threat to the Reef.  The coal industry still seems determined to cook the Great Barrier Reef by fuelling climate change,” Mr Walters added.

Video footage and photographs of Abbot Point terminal available here: 

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For images or more information, contact: Julie Macken, 0400 925 217 or Adam Walters, 0408 029 181