Mackay Conservation Group have been successful in seeking an adjournment in the trial set for the end of October. Time was sought to allow North Queensland Bulk Ports to provide details of suggested plans to switch to an alternate onshore dumping of dredging materials rather than dumping of dredged materials in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Pictured are our lawyers Saul Holt SC (right), and Michael Berkman and Revel Pointon from the Environment Defenders Office.
A significant part of our case concerns the environmental impacts of dumping dredge spoil in the ocean, so if those plans do go ahead it obviously changes things drastically for us.
While there has been a lot of media speculation about the plans for onshore dumping, in court in Thursday NQBP weren’t able to say when the application would be made, or by whom.
Given the ongoing uncertainty, and an element to the project the Judge referred to as ‘pie in the sky’, our request for an adjournment was granted.
The Deputy Premier, Mr Seeney, has indicated that formal documents outlining the plans for onshore disposal, would be submitted to the Commonwealth Environment Minister in the near future.
Any proposal for onshore disposal would need to go through the Federal environmental approvals process. Given the impact of the proposed announcement on important wetland areas, this might be lengthy.
NQBP and Premier Seeney are both keen to see dredging begin in the by March 2015.
For an example of media coverage see: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/25/green-groups-win-time-challenge-dumping