FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s decision to approve the disposal of Abbot Point dredge spoils at a deep-water location, subject to strict environmental conditions.
“GBRMPA has approved a site where the seafloor is made up of sand, silt and clay – it doesn’t contain coral reefs or sea grass beds and is in fact 40km from the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Entsch said.
“It’s good to see how GBRMPA and the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, are thinking along the same lines – enabling dredging activities to take place but putting strict environmental controls on them.
“This shows that they are willing to look at projects on their merit and not be influenced by any deep-seated philosophical opposition.”
Mr Entsch said that with future dredging projects being encouraged to have land-based disposal for dredge spoil, the Trinity Inlet project was in a very good position.
However he added that people shouldn’t look at what has happened at Gladstone Harbour and anticipate the same could happen at Cairns.
“These are quite different projects and there is a very appropriate land-based solution here – I’ve been campaigning for years to have the spoil put at East Trinity and I would be over the moon if it happened,” he said.
“It would provide Cairns with an opportunity to build residences close to the heart of the city, meaning that the next 25,000 people who move to Cairns could live in a location that avoids the sort of ribbon development and hill-side encroachment we’ve been seeing.
“It would offer quick access for Yarrabah residents to the CBD, re-energise the city heart, provide opportunities for water taxi and transport services… the list goes on.
“It also ties in perfectly with what we’re looking at through the Northern Australia White Paper and the opportunities for economic development for our region.
“What this whole process has shown is that once the EIS on Trinity Inlet is completed, the Minister will make his decision based on all the scientific and environmental information available and with all threats identified and risk abatement activities outlined.
“For that I am really pleased and I will be very excited if the Trinity project goes ahead.”