The Fight For The Reef campaign today welcomed Premier Campbell Newman’s commitment that his government will “insist” all future dredge spoil will be disposed of onshore and called for the guarantee to be made permanent through a legislated ban.
Asked today about dredging and dumping Mr Newman told journalists: “… it is our strong belief that there should be beneficial reuse of dredged material onshore …. That’s what we want to see for all port development in the future in Queensland.
“In the future … we want to see beneficial reuse and my Government, as long as we’re in Government, we will always be insisting in the future on beneficial reuse and onshore disposal.”
WWF-Australia Reef campaigner Louise Matthiesson said: “We welcome this promise from Mr Newman that dumping dredge spoil in Reef waters will no longer be tolerated and we look forward to working with the Government to place a legal ban on the damaging practice.
“We are seeking clarification and look forward to working with the government on the details of this new policy,” she said.
“If the Queensland and Australian Governments work together to implement a ban on the dumping of dredge spoil in the Reef World Heritage Area, this would be a major step forward in the conservation of this global icon.”
The Fight For The Reef campaign said any new policy must include:
A ban on dredge spoil dumping in the entire Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, not just the smaller boundaries of the marine park.
Standards and guidelines for onshore disposal and beneficial re-use including no dumping in sensitive areas such as wetlands.
Measures to minimise dredging, which also damages the marine environment.
AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director Felicity Wishart welcomed the Premier’s acknowledgement that dumping dredge spoil causes damage to the World Heritage Area.
“There are plans for up to 100 million tonnes of dredging posing a threat to the Reef’s waters.”
“The science is clear that both dredging and dumping dredge spoil damages the Reef.
“It’s important to minimise dredging in the first place in order to avoid more harm to the Reef and reduce the volume of spoil that needs to be treated”.
“The Premier’s commitment today should mean no sea dumping from proposed expansions of the ports in Townsville, Cairns, and Gladstone,” Ms Wishart said.
Fight For The Reef also said the plan to dump three million cubic metres of spoil in reef waters to expand Abbot Point must be abandoned.