The purpose of the Ports Bill is to: "provide for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area through managing port-related development in and adjacent to the area".
The Ports Bill is just one tool in the implementation of the ALP pre-election Reef commitments and Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
An overview of the Bill is available here.
We congratulate the government on implementing a number of its commitments to protect the Reef through the Ports Bill. While the protections the bill puts in place are laudable, there are a number of omissions, including some notable ALP commitments, which must be addressed to maximise the utility of the Ports Bill in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. In broad summary these include:
- A ban on transhipping, as promised;
- The ban on offshore dumping of dredge spoil should be fully implemented, as promised;
- Restrictions on dredging and development of port facilities must be extended to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;
- Dredging and dumping for other types of development on the Great Barrier Reef coastline should be restricted;
- Protection of the Greater Fitzroy Delta must be ensured, as promised
- Master planning should be improved;
- Accountability and transparency in governance must be implemented, as promised;
- Compensation should be more limited than provided for in the bill.
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