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Qld govt seeks public input into Abbot Point strategy

THE Queensland government is calling for public comment on its controversial strategy that would prevent dredged material from the expansion at the port of Abbot Point being placed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Lou Caruana
Qld govt seeks public input into Abbot Point strategy

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Abbot Point Port and Wetland Strategy was a critical component in the government’s plan to open up Galilee Basin mining projects and create tens of thousands of new Queensland jobs.

“We believe this project strikes the right balance for Queenslanders who want to see the Great Barrier Reef protected but understand the important role that ports play in supporting our resources industry and the jobs it provides,” Seeney said.

“The Port of Abbot Point will be the gateway for Queensland coal to be exported to the world and this strategy will allow necessary dredging to take place and offer an option for that material to be beneficially re-used on land instead of being dumped at sea.

“This strategy replaces Labor’s mega-port plan to dredge and dump 38 million cubic metres at sea, and shows our government is committed to protecting the unique values of the reef.”

Seeney said the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning had been engaging with the community about the project since its release in early September and comprehensive Abbot Point Port and Wetland Project plans have been available online since October 3.

“Now we enter a formal period of public consultation as required by the Commonwealth as part of its assessment and approvals process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” Seeney said.

“The preliminary work undertaken during the past couple of months has confirmed that we will be able to reduce the amount of dredged material to 1.7 million cubic metres – rather than three million cubic metres – all of which will be placed onshore and re-used to support future port expansion.

“We have also confirmed that less than 5% of nearby wetlands will be affected by this strategy, and we have committed to a detailed offset strategy which will deliver a net gain for the environment.”

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