Cairns - The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia welcome the announcement that new laws to restrict sea-dumping and port expansion in the Reef World Heritage Area will be voted on in Queensland Parliament next week.
Amendments to the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 were unveiled today in Cairns by the Queensland Government.
“We now call on all members of Parliament to support these laws to provide important new safeguards for the Great Barrier Reef,” WWF-Australia Reef Campaigner Louise Matthiesson said.
The amendment announced in Cairns would allow a limited volume of capital dredging for maritime industry activities in the inner harbour of the Port of Cairns.
“The Government is sticking to the promise they made to the World Heritage Committee – to not allow more than four priority industrial ports along the Reef coast,” Ms Matthiesson said.
“Any future capital dredging proposals for Trinity Inlet must undergo a thorough environmental assessment, to make sure any impacts on the marine environment are kept to a minimum.
“Overall, these laws are a major step forward in protecting the Reef from rampant industrial development, dredging and dumping,” Ms Matthiesson said.
AMCS Reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven congratulated the Queensland Government for acting on its promise to ban sea-dumping of capital dredge spoil in state waters inside the Reef World Heritage Area, and called for a redoubling of efforts to keep all the remaining promises they made to UNESCO.
“There are other promises that still remain to be implemented, such as a ban on the highly risky practice of barge-to-ship coal loading, known as trans-shipping, and controls on dredging for major marina or tourism developments,” Ms Zethoven said.
“We urge all Members of Parliament to support the Sustainable Port Development Bill in Parliament next week, since the laws are a key plank in the Reef 2050 Plan which was signed by both the State and Federal Governments.”
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