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Court case update

On March 28 MCG launched legal action against Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt over his decision to approve the dredging and dumping of dredge spoil for the Abbot Point coal terminal. We had our first day in court on 2nd May, in the Brisbane Federal Court with Judge Dowsett sitting for a 'directions hearing', essentially a chance for all parties to propose timelines. 


It seems that the date for the hearing will be in October, and we've also received news that North Queensland Bulk Ports has also joined the action as a co-respondent.

Our first hearing coincided with the latest report from UNESCO on the Great Barrier World Heritage Area, which highlighted their concerns with the decision to allow dumping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off  Abbot Point. In particular UNESCO  have expressed concern regarding  the “environmental offset conditions” proposed by the Minister, saying they appeared to be inappropriate.   These offsets will be a crucial part of our case, which we highlighted in this story in the Mercury:

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  • Lance Payne
    commented 2014-08-16 12:11:32 +1000
    Abstract: The 2009(current) Intergovernmental Agreement replaces a 1979 agreement-
    Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement (DOC – 615.5 KB)

    B. The Authority was established by the Act with responsibility for management of the Marine Park;


    Schedule D

    In collaboration with local government, the private sector and the community and building on existing initiatives, the two governments will give priority to the following areas:

    (2) Maximising the resilience and capacity of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area ecosystem to adapt to the impacts of climate change
    The governments will support efforts to build and maintain the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area ecosystem and its component species and communities, particularly through effective management of non-climate change related threats and pressures such as water pollution, inappropriate coastal development and over-fishing.

    The words “inappropriate coastal development” would that apply to dumping sand in the GBR marine park
  • Lance Payne
    commented 2014-06-29 15:20:05 +1000
    Ocean wave-induced liquefaction
    All that proposed dredging of sand at Abbot Point; let’s considered the potential for wave-induced liquefaction occurring in saturated seabed sediments. In short all the sand/sea sediments along with other components that make up the composition of the dredged material from the proposed Abbot Point development. When the dredged material is dumped “I mean when it’s placed in its allocated position” in the intended zone meant to contain it. During the placement it will then layer after layer remake the sea floor rendering it unstable with an inherent “loose and porous” nature. To contrive this type of ocean floor topography that may well be the foundation for wave-induced liquefaction. Combine that now newly laid sea bed environment and given a high wave propagation that would be amplified in Cat 1-5 cyclones that can traverse the appointed sand dump site. How long before you get sand/sea bed sediments – freshly placed redispersed by wave-induced liquefaction. Having sand/sediment alike Rip from the ocean floor to where? Reef? Sea grass beds? Maybe back from where it came! It could all depend on wind and tide, how could you factor into any reports that have attended to the afro mentioned; there are variables that escalate experientially when viewed on an interactive levels .