Queensland is fast becoming one large coal mining operation. As more mining operations open, more coal must be moved to the coast for shipping overseas. The end result of this mining boom is a huge expansion of current and future coal loading terminals, particularly in the Mackay and Bowen regions. These expanding port operations will need a significant amount of dredging, to the tune of 100 million tonnes of dredge spoils! And to make matters worse, the ports will require ongoing dredging to remain open over the years. Dredge spoil from near shore and port waters can contain a variety of hazardous materials including high levels of nitrates, phosphates, heavy metals and coal dust. Where will all of this potentially toxic dredge spoil go? The government is suggesting that it be dumped into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area!?! The potential impact of such dumping is unknown but undoubtebly will have disastrous consequences for adjacent reef, sea grass meadows and wetlands.
This whole proposal is currently being quietly pushed through the various government agencies with little opportunity for the public to hear the full story and respond. I would suggest that we all respond as loudly as we can by contacting the following government Ministers and Managers and letting them know how we feel about their plan.
Mr. Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities email@example.com
Mr. Martin Ferguson, Minister for Energy, Resources and Tourism Martin.Ferguson.MP@aph.gov.au
Mr Andrew Skeat, General Manager GBRMPA firstname.lastname@example.org
In your comment to the Ministers/Managers, you need to simply note that the dumping of dredge spoils in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is totally unacceptable due to its potential impact on the marine environment. If the coal industry cannot expand in an environmentally sustainable manner, then it should not be allowed to expand.