LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed Federal Labor’s decision to finally support the banning of dredge spoil being dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“Labor’s decision is nothing short of catch-up,” said Mr Entsch, “considering the current Coalition Government already announced that policy in December last year.”
“They had the chance to ban it while they were in government, and chose instead to move ahead with five major proposals that would dispose dredge spoil in our Marine Park.
“Since coming to government, we have reduced the number of projects dumping dredge in the Marine Park to zero.”
Mr Entsch said the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for the Environment, yesterday confirmed our commitment in a press release, saying that the Coalition has ‘drawn a line in the sand’ against dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“We have already fixed the problem,” said Mr Entsch.
“Both state and federal Labor governments had the chance, while they were in power, to put a halt to unnecessary dumping of dredge spoil and failed to do it. So while their announcement yesterday is certainly ‘better late than never’, for Labor the dredging ship has sailed.”
Mr Entsch said the current Australian and Queensland governments are jointly investing around $180 million a year into the reef’s health.
“That’s billions of dollars over the next decade,” said Mr Entsch.
“The Federal Government is committed to the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef as one of Australia’s greatest natural icons – and a vital asset for tourism and jobs in Queensland and Australia.
“We have a clear plan and a strong commitment to ensure the reef is healthy and resilient, and we’re making strong progress,” he said.