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:
The Queensland government wants to dredge 1.7 million cubic metres from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and then dump this material into settling ponds in the Caley Valley wetlands, wiping out habitat for endangered and migratory birds and risking sediment running back into the Reef.
If you have two minutes, please make a submission to Greg Hunt: https://caleyvalley.good.do/stop-fast-tracking-abbot-point-dredging-and-dumping/send-in-a-submission-to-protect-the-reef-wetlands/
We’re organising an action and information evening about the Caley Valley wetlands to coincide with our next volunteer meeting. We’ve got great ideas about how you can make a creative submission so please come along!
What: Abbot Point action and information evening
When: 5:30pm, Thursday 27th November
Where: Environment Centre, 156 Wood Street
Hunt fast tracks Abbot Point coal terminal project after pressure from Queensland government
Greg Hunt has today decided that dredging and dumping for the controversial Abbot Point project does not need to go through a full environmental impact assessment.
The Queensland government has a proposal to dredge 1.7 million cubic metres from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and dump the spoil into the adjacent Caley Valley wetlands.
‘The Queensland government wants to start dredging for the Abbot Point coal terminal next March and so has pressured Greg Hunt to fast track the process, stating that it can be assessed quickly on ‘preliminary documentation,’ said Co-ordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Ellen Roberts.
The State government proposal to dump dredge spoil from Abbot Point onshore must undergo a full environmental impact assessment under the EPBC Act. Despite claims to the contrary, the area and the proposed action have not been considered in previous assessments relating to Abbot Point.
The area in which it is proposed to dump the spoil is part of a wetland of national importance and home to significant populations of listed species. It is also a fish nursery area and a filter for the GBR World Heritage Area.
While the move to avoid offshore dumping is good, we must not just see damage being transferred from one area to another.
The area in question is important to Australia for a number of reasons and it is essential that comprehensive and rigorous, open and transparent assessment is carried out.
As you may have seen in the news, last Friday Jeff Seeney made a formal request to the Federal government for approval to dump dredge spoil on land. This comes after weeks of media speculation and an adjournment to our case until the onshore dumping is resolved.
Patricia Julien and Mackay Conservation Group have been working on the issue of the Caley Valley wetlands for many years now. See for example this story in 2012, when Patricia and Tub Wilson raised concerns about what coal port expansion would mean for the wetlands.
Pictured below: Patricia being interviewed at the wetlands in 2012, and right a pair of painted snipes
Legal case against Abbot Point dumping will continue
Rumours are circulating that the companies wanting to build Abbot Point coal terminals will propose a land based dumping option to address concerns about the impact of dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
In March this year MCG launched legal action against the Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s decision to approve dredging and dumping for the proposed Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.
‘We would need to see any alternative proposal to determine how far it goes towards addressing all our concerns and whether it affects the current Federal Court case.Read more
On Thursday 12 December there was a strong showing from Mackay locals at a protest we organised at the North Queensland Bulk Ports office in Wellington Street, Mackay against the approval of the dredging and terminal construction at Abbot Point, near Bowen.
In an event described by the Daily Mercury as 'dramatic' we threw dredge spoil over some of local marine creatures: dugongs, reef fish and sea turtles. All of these animals will have their habitat affected by the proposed 3 million cubic metre dredging project.
The photo above was taken by ABC Tropical North, and the full story can be seen at their website: http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/12/11/3909708.htm
For more information about the Abbot Point coal port expansion: http://www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au/abbot_point_a_disaster_in_the_making
If coal miners and coal port owners get their way, 16 million cubic metres (~4535 million tonnes) of the seabed at Abbot Point in Queensland will be dredged and dumped into the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The proposed dredging is to allow the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Port near Bowen in Queensland.
The mud to be dredged is enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) 30 times over.Read more
The proposed massive increase in mining and coal ports on the Queensland coast adjacent to the World Heritage protected Great Barrier Reef is predicted to see an increase of 5 times in the number of shipping transits.
This increases by 5 times the risk of oil spills, reef damage, groundings and boat strikes on marine mammals like dolphins, whales and dugongs.Read more