On 11 March the new government announced their new proposal for the Abbot Point expansion, which shifted dredge spoil from the Caley Valley wetlands to a site immediately adjacent on the former site of terminal 2.
The series of new proposals at Abbot Point are the result of community, scientific and international concern about the compatibility of expanding coal export infrastructure at a time when the health of the Great Barrier Reef is in serious decline.
No-one wants to see increased sediment in the wetlands and the Reef as a result of the new proposal. The new development at Abbot Point was discussed at our last volunteer meeting and the views of the MCG volunteers on the new proposal are summarised at our website. Comments welcome.
The following summarises a discussion at a Mackay Conservation Group volunteers meeting on Thursday 19 March. Please leave any comments below:
Mackay Conservation Group has been campaigning for good environmental outcomes at the port of Abbot Point for over five years, including through participation in government and industry consultation process, providing information and resources to the local community and through court action.
Mackay Conservation Group members, supporters and volunteers acknowledge the new proposal for development at Abbot Point may do less damage to the Reef than previous proposals, however key details are missing and so it is not possible to fully understand the environmental impacts at this stage.
However, before rushing ahead with expanding Abbot Point, dredging the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and increasing light, noise, dust and industrial pollution in a sensitive coastal ecosystem, we want the Queensland government to answer these questions:
1. Is there sufficient demand for international coal to justify this port expansion, particularly when existing ports, including at Abbot Point have unused capacity?
2. Given Adani is yet to finance the Carmichael mine how can anyone be sure that this coal terminal will actually be used?
3. Is it responsible for the Queensland government to be facilitating increasing coal use at a time when coral scientists are saying climate change is the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef?
4. Will there be a thorough scientific study into the long-term impact of dredging and dumping of marine dredge spoil adjacent to wetlands?
5. Have other less damaging options, such as extending jetties to eliminate the need for dredging altogether, been considered?