Harbour cut from heritage list?

THE corporation responsible for dredging off Gladstone wants the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area to be redrawn to exclude the harbour.

It's a move which conservationists fear could have major ramifications for the Fitzroy and Keppel marine environment, as well as the Port City.

Gladstone Ports Corporation chairman Ian Brusasco has written to all state and federal MPs asking them to consider redrawing the boundary of the World Heritage area, which extends to the low-water mark in Gladstone, The Australian newspaper reports.

The corporation is calling for the boundary to match that of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which ends offshore and excludes Gladstone Harbour.

"If the World Heritage designation was to protect the values in the Great Barrier Reef, then align the boundaries with the GBR marine park," Ports Corporation chief executive Leo Zussino said.

"The GBR marine park has been put in place with a lot more science than the World Heritage area."

The call comes ahead of a United Nations mission to look into whether Queensland gas projects are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation has approvals to dredge 46 million cubic metres from the harbour to accommodate Queensland's expanding coal seam gas industry.

So far, about two million cubic metres have been dredged.

Libby Connors, of the Queensland Greens, said the call was not surprising given she understood the Ports Corporation wanted to expand dredging activities, including at Balaclava Island.

Capricorn Conservation Council spokesman Ian Herbert said the move showed "without a shadow of a doubt the ports corporation has no respect for the environment".

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