Fast tracking of land disposal at Abbot Point risks repeat of past mistakes: WWF

FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt will not conduct a full environmental impact assessment for the land disposal of dredge spoil on sensitive wetlands at Abbot Point.

Documents posted on Minister Hunt’s department website reveal the project will be assessed using ‘preliminary documentation’ only – as requested by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.

WWF-Australia expressed disappointment at the decision.

“It is absolutely standard practice with a development of this enormous scale that a full and proper environmental impact assessment process is undertaken,” said WWF-Australia Reef campaigner Louise Matthiesson.

“The world’s best reef requires the world’s best management.

“The fast tracking of development at Gladstone triggered the World Heritage Committee’s concern – this looks like a case of history repeating itself.

“We can’t afford to take short cuts with the reef.

“Governments continue to roll the dice with the reef.

“No previous studies have examined the specific impacts of dredge spoil disposal in this sensitive area or the proposed alteration of the Caley Valley Wetlands.

“There are risks of significant impacts on the Reef World Heritage Area.

“Once again a proper assessment is abandoned in favour of fast tracking,” she said.

The Abbot Point Port and Wetland Project features:

Dredging of about 2.5 million tonnes of seabed and seagrass from the Reef World Heritage Area
Construction of dredge spoil storage ponds (over 335 hectares, with a capacity of up to 6 million m3) on a section of the Caley Valley Wetland adjacent to the Reef World Heritage Area.
A pipeline to allow discharge of possibly contaminated stormwater into the wetlands
A 6.5km long 4 metre high circular railway embankment that will enclose most of the Caley Valley Wetlands

Source: WWF-Australia
Image Source: © WWF-Canon / James Morgan

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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