The dumping would be part of the dredging project approved by the Minister, dredging that would be necessary to enable the creation of the world’s largest coal export port at Abbot Point, slap bang in the GBR World Heritage Area and within coo-ee of the Whitsundays.
Coal is, of course, one of the greatest contributors to climate change – and it is that, climate change, which is, as GBRMPA acknowledges, the greatest threat to the Reef…
But we are even further into cloud cuckoo land than that demonstrates.
Yesterday, the same day that the permit was granted, was the final day for public comment on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Assessment, completed after months of work by GBRMPA and work by the Queensland government. The draft reports released acknowledged that the condition of the Reef south of Cooktown (ie. where the people are) as well as biodiversity throughout the Area, is ‘poor and declining’.
And it doesn’t even stop there. In an even more ironic twist, today (1 February) is the deadline for the Australian and Queensland governments to provide their latest report to the World Heritage Committee (the body with the power to remove ‘world heritage’ status) on what they are doing to improve protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area!
Outrage at what is perceived as, at least, a dereliction of duty by the Federal government and GBRMPA, has been expressed around the world.
NQCC shares this outrage – and, after careful consideration by the Management Committee over the weeks leading up to the decision, has now committed to taking legal action against the granting of the GBRMPA permit.
We will be represented by the Environmental Defenders Office and, much to our delight, GetUp and Fight for the Reef have both kicked off online fund-raising campaigns in support.
NQCC was very closely involved in and instigated much action in the process of public consultation, including participation in GBRMPA-led workshops and surveys, lengthy and detailed submission, social media posts, media interviews, market stalls and rallies. Unfortunately, this, as well as the enormous work of many other conservation organisations and individuals, and the outpouring of concern from hundreds of scientists and the community, made no difference. In the circumstances we felt left with no choice but to take legal action.
To the extent possible, we will keep members informed of the process we are undertaking and, in the meantime, encourage you to help the fighting fund along with a generous donation. (See links above)