Law Reform · Energy & Climate

EDO Qld welcomes strong Reef protections in new Ports Bill

12 November, 2015

EDO Qld welcomes the passing of the new Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 by the Queensland Parliament today.

Laudably, the Act provided strong restrictions on sea-dumping and port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, EDO Qld solicitor Revel Pointon said.

“In conjunction with the Commonwealth restrictions on sea dumping, this Act will help ensure that dredge spoil from new port developments cannot be dumped near the Reef as was proposed in the Abbot Point Port expansion,” she said.

“Not only does the Act protect our Reef, but our pristine coastline areas of the Fitzroy Delta and Cape York will also be better protected from port industrialisation under this Act.

“EDO Qld has been working with the Queensland Government to secure effective amendments to the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 to ensure this Act provides the best protection for our Reef.

“We congratulate members of Parliament for ensuring Queensland meets its international commitments to stop sea dumping and restrict capital dredging and port development in Queensland waters of the Reef World Heritage area.

“We also acknowledge the tremendous efforts made by the community, and groups such as WWF and AMCS, in their determined campaigning to help ensure our Reef gets the best protections that it deserves.

“We acknowledge there is still a lot of work to do to ensure our Reef is able to recover from the significant impacts it has suffered under poor management to date.

“In particular we need to reform state planning laws to better regulate development in coastal areas and high risk Reef catchments, to ensure areas of ecological significance and water quality are protected and sediment is controlled.

“We also note some compromises were made in the Act to allow for port development at the Cairns Port.

“We hope that those seeking to develop the Cairns Port, including the Queensland Government, ensure the development is undertaken responsibly and with minimal impact to the Reef.

“We look forward to continuing our law reform work with the Government to ensure it meets all of the commitments under the Reef 2050 Plan.”