Environment Minister fast-tracks coal expansion on Great Barrier Reef

Greenpeace Media Release

Brisbane, 29 October 2014: Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has fast-tracked the approval of the world’s biggest coal port in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef today, ignoring impacts on the Reef and the adjacent internationally significant Caley Valley wetlands at Abbot Point, said Greenpeace. 

Under the proposal, millions of tonnes of seabed would be dredged from the World Heritage Area and dumped on the Caley Valley wetlands – home to over 40,000 water birds. “At the behest of a coal company, the Queensland Government has created a proposal to dredge the Reef and dump it in the Caley Valley wetlands in order to fast-track the controversial expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal,” said Greenpeace Reef campaigner Shani Tager.“A colander has fewer holes than this dredging proposal,” said Ms Tager. “There has been no assessment on the impacts of dumping this acid sulphate dredge spoil on vulnerable species such as the Australian painted snipe, or endangered turtle breeding habitat.“Adani, the Indian coal company behind the new Abbot Point coal terminal, has been holding the Queensland and Federal Governments to ransom over this development, threatening to pull out unless their demands are met. Greg Hunt has rolled over, again failing to stand up to Adani and its Reef wrecking agenda.”

Minister Hunt’s decision comes amidst financial uncertainty over the future of the new Abbot Point coal terminal. This week, some of the world’s largest investment banks ruled out financing the development.“Despite all of the concerns by UNESCO, scientists and the Australian community, dredging for Adani’s proposed new mega coal port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area will not even require a full environmental impact assessment. It’s an outrage,” Ms Tager said.“Millions of Australians want to protect the Great Barrier Reef from coal developments. We need to let them know we will not take this lying down.” 

  • Greenpeace’s submission to Environment Minister Greg Hunt on the revised dumping and dredging plans at Abbot Point is available here. 
  • Queensland Government dredging and dumping proposal is available here
  • Queensland Government wetland proposal is available here

For comment, please call: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

Photographs of the Caley Valley wetlands and Abbot Point available at: http://www.greenpeacemedia.org/main.php?g2_itemId=19146 Username: photos Password: green

For interviews or more information, contact: Elsa Evers 0438 204 041