The Australian Greens are calling on the Abbott Government to revoke the Abbot Point dredging and dumping approval and to increase compliance staff, following a report into Gladstone Harbour slamming poor compliance and monitoring with environmental conditions.
“This report is an indictment on Australia’s environmental management, compliance monitoring was inadequate, records weren’t kept, and complaints about breaches were not followed up,” Australian Greens spokesperson for the environment, Senator Larissa Waters said.
“The Abbott Government should markedly increase the compliance and enforcement staff within the Environment Department, rather than slashing these vital workers on budget night.
“Given the damning evidence about the poor management of risks to the Gladstone Harbour in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by both levels of government, Minister Hunt must revoke his approval of 5 million tonnes of dredging and offshore sludge dumping to make Abbot Point one of the world’s largest coal ports.
“Governments crow about how many conditions are placed on development but conditions are useless when they’re vague, not monitored and not enforced, and developers know that they can get away with breaching them.
“Both major parties have gambled with the future of a World Heritage Area by allowing mass dredging, dumping and shipping for fossil fuel export without adequate monitoring and enforcement of conditions.
“That a state-owned entity did not adequately protect the environment from the mass dredging and dumping project also shows Tony Abbott’s plans to permanently delegate final environmental approval powers to state governments will be a disaster for our natural environment.
“The Gladstone Harbour revelations, the evidence against Reef dumping and the warnings from UNESCO about possible World Heritage In Danger listing mean it’s time Minister Hunt revoked the approval of Abbot Point and prohibited further dredging and dumping in the Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Waters said.