The Australian Marine Conservation Society has condemned the Australian and Queensland government decision to lock in unnecessary dredging and dumping, more shipping and a program to industrialise the coastline of the Great Barrier Reef, with the approval of the Carmichael coal mine.
Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said that the mine would need huge port development, including millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping, in the World Heritage Area.
“The markets for this coal are drying up. The Reef can’t handle this much coal being dragged through it by thousands of ships, via mega ports.
“The government’s claims about strict conditions are laughable, if they weren’t so serious. They want to hand back these powers for approval of mines like this one to the Queensland government who own the ports and don’t care about the Reef or the industries it supports sustainably.
“Dredging and dumping, shipping and coal piles on the Reef’s coastline damage the tourism and fishing industry – and it causes disease in coral and affects water quality.
“With mining you can only dig it up once, but the Reef and the tourism industry should be forever.
“The Queensland Government is promoting the mining industry at the expense of the tourism and fishing industries because it is hungry for mining royalties. This is not a long-term plan for the economic future of Queensland – it’s a short-term cash grab.
“The mining industry may be doing well but the benefits don’t reach ordinary Queenslanders. All the profits go overseas.
“The Queensland budget has a massive deficit and relies on higher coal prices – despite coal prices continuing to fall.
“The mining boom has created some well-paid jobs but not nearly as much as promised.
“A strong Queensland economy needs a healthy Reef. Reckless industrial development could damage the Reef forever and cripple our valuable tourism industry.
“The Federal government has fast-tracked industrialisation along the Reef because it is too close to the mining industry.
“The Queensland Government and Australian government have been watering down environmental protections and fast-tracking approvals for new ports and LNG plants on the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Wishart said.