Boundaries necessary for reef
THE Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area boundaries were created to protect the reef and need to stay, according to Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan and the Capricorn Conservation Council.
There are reports the Gladstone Ports Corporation has sent letters to State and Federal MPs asking them to consider redrawing the boundary to match the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The corporation has yet to confirm or deny the claims and none of the Central Queensland MPs contacted by the Morning Bulletin yesterday, including Member for Capricorn Federal MP Kirsten Livermore's office, had received such a letter.
But Mr Hoolihan made it clear that he would not support any changes.
"They won't be getting any support from me for it," Mr Hoolihan said.
"To change that, it would affect Keppel Bay and Curtis Island and it's just not on.
"It was well thought out when it (WHA boundaries) was done.
"It covers areas that could have an effect on the reef, which was how it was designed."
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was gazetted in 1981; it included all of Gladstone Harbour to the low-water mark.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and State Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham want to know why the corporation wants to change the boundary.
Mr O'Dowd said the ports corporation had been dredging the harbour for decades with no issues and wondered why it now wanted the boundaries changed.
"I think it would be suspicious of them to do it now," Mrs Cunningham said.
She said it was suspicious considering UNESCO - the United Nations agency responsible for international cooperation agreements that secure the world's cultural and natural heritage - was sending people to Gladstone this year to check out the situation.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the World Heritage boundaries were established when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was Premier of Queensland.
"They have been established for a long time and records show that the Queensland economy has been able to grow sustainably without being threatened by the current boundaries," he said.
"The all powerful GPC is not satisfied with their massive dredging project in Gladstone Harbour and the construction of LNG plants on Curtis Island.
"They also want to build huge coal export ports on the Fitzroy River delta at the southern end of Keppel Bay."
Capricorn Conservation Council spokesman Ian Herbert said: "As a society we have to question whether short-term economic gain is worth permanent destruction."