No surprises from green groups

Published Thursday, 12 December, 2013 at 02:56 PM

Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Jeff Seeney

Queenslanders should not be fooled by the mistruths being spread by environmental groups in an alarmist response to this week’s Federal Government approval of the Abbot Point port expansion.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said green groups will say anything to shut down Queensland’s coal industry.

“Clear thinking Queenslanders will not miss the sheer hypocrisy of Greenpeace activists sailing up the Queensland coast in their own private yacht, made out of steel, burning diesel fuel and at the same time trying to shut down the fossil fuels industry,” Mr Seeney said.

“They are not interested in the jobs and income that Queensland families draw from mines. Their only agenda is to shut them down, and they will continue to use the Great Barrier Reef as an emotive point of leverage.”

Mr Seeney said the Abbot Point project had been through Australia’s longest and most comprehensive state and federal environmental assessment and the associated dredging will be subject to 95 environmental conditions.

“The Newman Government is absolutely committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and we are confident the decision made by the Commonwealth Government is the right one for this state and the nation,” he said.

“Our balanced approach will ensure the Reef will be preserved for future generations, and that our resources sector can grow to provide the jobs and economic benefits that Queensland sorely needs.

“Queensland needs economic development, we need the coal industry, and we need ports to sell our coal.”

Mr Seeney said the following facts are being deliberately ignored by green groups:

·         The Newman Government has drastically reduced the scope of dredging from 38 million cubic metres proposed by Labor to just 3 million cubic metres

·         Dredge material disposal will occur well away from any coral reefs and other sensitive coastal areas

·         The majority of material produced by dredging is clean sand, and will settle out immediately, minimising impacts on the marine environment

·         Dredging can only occur over a four-month period in a calendar year to minimise impacts on sensitive coastal areas, particularly sea-grass beds

·         The latest scientific evidence suggests the major sources of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef are cyclones and storm damage (48%), Crown of Thorns starfish (42%), and coral bleaching (10%), not dredging activities

·         $89 million in private sector funding will be invested in programs to improve the quality of the runoff water onto the reef through better land management practices

[ENDS] 12 December 2013

Media Contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Elizabeth Spry 0418 928 744