Decision-makers in denial

UnknownFor those who watched Four Corners last Monday, it must be very clear that the decision-makers on Abbot Point, the career bureaucrat, the CEO of GBRMPA and the Federal Minister are jointly and severally in denial about the Great Barrier Reef.

As world-renowned scientists lined up to say ‘DON’T DUMP’, the three wise ……. ones collectively buried their heads in the sand and said ‘we know better’.If we needed better proof of the aversion our Federal government has to science, this – and climate change – must be it.

And to make matters worse, the Federal Minister categorically ‘mis-spoke’ when he told viewers that Abbot Point had been a ‘line in the sand’ and one of the conditions on which he had approved Abbot Point was that there would be no more sea dumping in the Marine Park. One wonders then why the Minister’s Authority, the GBRMPA, in May this year provided North Queensland Bulk Ports with a permit to dump dredge spoil in the Marine Park.

In addition to specifically referencing Hay Point as one of four sites at which there would be no dumping in the Marine Park (a promise that he quickly broke), the Minister promised that he had put a stop to dumping in the Marine Park off Townsville.

Trouble with that promise is that there were never any plans to dump spoil in the Marine Park off Townsville. The spoil dump area here is right on the border of the Marine Park, but not in it. Nevertheless, the dump site is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – the area of concern to UNESCO.

And, of course, the dredge spoil does not stay where it is put. It travels – as Professor Terry Hughes told Four Corners, up to 100km.

The good people of Magnetic Island are painfully aware of the impact of dumping dredge spoil in the ocean within 5 km of their famous beaches and fringing coral reefs. And the scientists are fully aware as to the reasons why the seagrass beds and dugong populations are in such poor health in Cleveland Bay in Townsville.