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Feature Story - 1 July, 2013
Whoever said a week was a long time in politics was certainly understating things.
Abbot Pt Wetlands
Image: Abbot Point Wetlands ©Greenpeace / Tom Jefferson

A week ago we still had Australia’s first female Prime Minister and Tony Burke was still Minister for the Environment and he was still expected to make an announcement about whether to allow dredging at beautiful Abbot Point on the 9th of July.

And now?

Now we have a new/old Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd; a brand new Minister for the Environment, Mark Butler, and a new combination of portfolios with Minister Butler having both Environment and Climate Change.

But some things remain the same.

Minister Butler is still expected to announce his decision about whether to allow dredging at Abbot Point by the 9th of July.

Although with so much else to consider, and a new report on the impact of dredging from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority about to be published, it is likely the Minister will want more time before he makes his decision.

We wasted no time in extending our congratulations to the Minister and asked for a time to meet with him so we can hand over the signatures of over 100,000 Australians all asking him to step up save the Reef.

As Greenpeace campaigner, Erland Howden, explained: “of that 100,000, over 30,000 have specifically asked the Minister to say no to dredging Abbot Point. With both the Environment and the Climate Change portfolios to consider, saying no to dredging Abbot Point should be a no-brainer,” said Howden. 

The good news is that while all eyes were focused on the leadership challenge last week, Labor Senators quietly joined The Greens and passed a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

This should put the matter beyond doubt and based on that motion alone Minister Butler should reject the dredge application.

By the 9th of July we should all have a much clearer idea of how fair dinkum the new Rudd government is about protecting the Reef and the climate we all share – stay tuned.

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