Barrier Reef Dredging Permit Challenged at TribunalElisabeth Behrmann
A permit giving North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp. the right to dump dredging waste from a coal port expansion in the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Marine Park is facing a court challenge.
The North Queensland Conservation Council filed the application against the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority’s decision to allow the dumping for the expansion of its port at Abbot Point with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane, the green group said today in a statement on its website.
The court action comes as environmental challenges to discourage coal mining have increased in Australia, the world’s second-biggest exporter of the commodity. India’s GVK Group and Adani Enterprises Ltd. own coal projects in Australia and are planning to enlarge the port of Abbot Point for coal exports.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority last month cleared the port to deposit as much as 3 million cubic meters (680 million dry gallons) of material. The dumping plan had been approved by Australia’s environment minister the month before in
the face of opposition from environmentalists concerned about the impact on the reef, one of Australia’s major tourist attractions.
The reef, home of more than 1,500 species of fish, is threatened by coastal development, ports and natural gas projects, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said in 2012 report. Tourists spent the equivalent of about 2 million days in the 3,000-kilometer (1,875-mile) marine park in 2012, according to the park authority’s website.
Yesterday, Lend Lease Group, Australia’s biggest listed property developer, revealed it won’t take part in a planned coal terminal expansion close to the Great Barrier Reef after a mandate for the project lapsed.
Lend Lease is no longer part of the AP-X expansion at the port of Abbot Point, partly due to “commercial drivers,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen McCann said yesterday.
“In any major project, we do go through a very rigorous process and we consider all the relevant aspects and we do a very rigorous due diligence and that includes environmental and other aspects,” McCann said.