Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) June 06, 2014
An Australian plan to limit future port developments on or near the Great Barrier Reef to five areas was Friday criticised as "business as usual" and "destructive" by conservationists.
Queensland Infrastructure Minister Jeff Seeney said late Thursday the state's strategy would see future port developments centred on Townsville, Abbot Point, Hay Point and Mackay, Gladstone and Brisbane.
"Within and adjoining the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the Queensland government will prohibit dredging for the development of new, or the expansion of existing port facilities outside these port precincts, for the next decade," Seeney said.
"We understand the Great Barrier Reef is unique and special to all Queenslanders and we are committed to its protection for this, and future generations."
Seeney said the approach was consistent with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee's recommendations to restrict port development in sensitive reef areas to existing major ports.
UNESCO has stated concerns about proposals for coastal development in the region including port and coal operations, with the body expected to discuss the issue at a meeting later this month.
"We understand that port infrastructure is essential to getting Queensland coal and agricultural produce to market, and this strategy ensures we can meet the future needs of those growing industries," Seeney said Thursday.
But the Australian Marine Conservation Society said the strategy showed the government intended to "industrialise" the Great Barrier Reef's coastline.
"The new policy won't stop a single port development or dredging proposal planned along the Queensland coast," campaigner Felicity Wishart said.
WWF-Australia said the plan for port expansions was "destructive" and put the state government on a collision course with the World Heritage Committee.
"Instead of banning dumping of dredge spoil in the reef World Heritage Area, the document sets out a plan for business as usual," spokesman Richard Leck said.
Australia gave the green light to the major coal port expansion for India's Adani Group at Abbot Point north of Brisbane last year subject to strict environmental conditions.
Conservationists slammed that approval, warning it would hasten the natural wonder's demise given it is under pressure from climate change, land-based pollution and crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks.
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|