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Keppel Bay’s positive future

POINT TO MAKE: Michael McCabe from the Capricorn Conservation Council addressing the National Day of Climate Change Action. Events were held throughout Australia.
POINT TO MAKE: Michael McCabe from the Capricorn Conservation Council addressing the National Day of Climate Change Action. Events were held throughout Australia. Chris Ison Rokcclimate

THERE'S renewed hope for the future of Keppel Bay after Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt ruled out any dumping of dredge spoil from Gladstone Harbour's second shipping channel onto World Heritage sites.

Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry confirmed Mr Hunt had called her to say he would not allow dumping of dredge spoils onto the reef from any expansion of sea lanes at Gladstone Harbour.

She said the spoils would be dumped onshore to reclaim land for the further expansion of the harbour as a major industrial port.

"Nothing is concrete, but this is a hopeful sign that future coal and industrial port developments could be steered to Gladstone and not Balaclava Island," Ms Landry said.

"While future coal shipping facilities are needed in this area - and would create welcome job and business opportunities locally - it makes sense to keep expanding at Gladstone, which is already geared for these types of projects."

Mr Hunt's decision coincided with National Day of Climate Action yesterday, which saw gatherings held in every capital city and dozens of regional towns throughout Australia.

Greens senator, Larissa Waters said the rumoured withdrawal of Arrow's LNG plant at Gladstone came after Glencore Xstrata pulled out of its proposed coal port on Balaclava Island and BHP Billiton pulled out of its proposed T2 terminal at Abbot Point.

"If the rumours are correct, the government should reconsider whether a second shipping channel in Gladstone Harbour is needed at all."

Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef campaign director for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said the Newman Government was racing to industrialise the reef and the pressure was on the Abbott Government to say no.

"We welcome the legitimate concerns of Minister Hunt about dredging and dumping in the reef and urge him to apply that approach across the entire World Heritage area ... the true test of Abbot Point is yet to come," she said yesterday.

Topics:  dredging gladstone harbour keppel bay



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