The Queensland Government has lodged the final Environmental Impact Statement for dredging to expand Abbot Point coal port and admits there is coral much closer to the proposed dredging site than previously claimed.
New information in the final EIS contradicts the Queensland Government’s website which claims “The proposed dredging site is 19 and 30 kilometres away from the nearest coral communities”
In fact the final EIS has taken on board public submissions and states: “the closer coral locations referred to in the public submission are acknowledged as likely being important to some local residents for fishing and spear fishing or diving…”
WWF-Australia and local residents, divers, and fishers pushed to have these coral communities recognised, including:
- Philips Reef just 550 metres from the existing jetty
- Larry’s Reef (six kilometres away)
- Euri Creek Reef (7.5 kilometres away) which spans 100 hectares and consists of plate, stag, brain and rose corals.
- Meatworks Reef (14 km away) which is a spotted and Spanish Mackerel spawning site well known to Queensland Fisheries.
“The Queensland Government claims these coral communities will not be adversely affected by dredge plumes but WWF has deep concerns the impacts could be worse than predicted,” said WWF-Australia spokesperson Louise Matthiesson.
Ms Matthiesson said another fault in the EIS is that there is no time limit on the dredging.
A recent aerial survey found that Abbot Point is a hot spot for turtle nesting.
“There should be no dredging allowed between October and March when coral is spawning, turtles are coming ashore to lay eggs, and endangered birds are nesting at the Caley Valley wetlands,” Ms Matthiesson said.
“Pushing ahead with the Abbot Point expansion doesn’t add up because it risks becoming a ‘white elephant’ with the price of coal continuing to decline,” she said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571