FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed news that the Government’s approval of dredging activities at Abbot Point will be subject to the highest environmental standards to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
After rigorous assessment, the Government has completed the approvals process for four Queensland projects under National Environmental Law, approving:
· The capital dredging program for the proposed Terminals 0, 2 and 3 at the Port of Abbot Point
· The Adani T0 project at Abbot Point
· The Arrow Liquefied Natural Gas Facility on Curtis Island
· The Arrow Gas Transmission Pipeline to Curtis Island.
“The projects are a huge boost for local jobs and the economy in their respective regions,” Mr Entsch said today.
“At the same time I’m pleased to see that some of the strictest conditions in Australian history have been placed on these projects to ensure that any impacts are avoided, mitigated or offset.”
Some of these conditions include:
· 150% net benefit requirement for water quality. The result will be a long-term net reduction of fine sediments entering the Marine Park from land-based sources, well beyond the life of the projects.
· Approximately $89m will be contributed to support the health of the Great Barrier Reef through programmes such as the Reef Trust.
· 95 environmental conditions for Abbot Point and 53 for Curtis Island LNG.
· Measures for protection of marine species and their habitat, ecological communities, flora and fauna.
The Government has also advised the Queensland Government that the first priority for all future capital dredging projects within the Central and North Queensland coastal zone should be for shoreline, near to shore or land reclamation disposal.
“This bodes well for the application that is currently before the government in relation to the dredging of Trinity Inlet,” Mr Entsch said. “I would hope that this will result in the dredge soil being used to reclaim the former NatWest site at East Trinity.
“This will create a huge opportunity for the expansion of Cairns and is a significant step towards improving and protecting the Marine Park for future generations.”
The decisions take into account the latest and best science and management practices, and consider the draft Strategic Assessment of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Zone, the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone and the Queensland Government’s draft Ports Strategy.
These projects were started under Labor, but the Government has taken major steps to minimise the environmental impact. It is important to note that each of these sites is already heavily industrialised and that the processes were highly advanced at the change of government.
“The Government cannot undo Labor’s decisions but from today, it is drawing a line in the sand,” Mr Entsch said.
The Arrow Project will create an additional 3500 jobs during the peak construction phase in the Gladstone region and an operational workforce of approximately 450 will be required and will increase to 600 with the commencement of the third and fourth liquefied natural gas trains.
In relation to the Adani project, the Mackay region in the first phase of construction will see a boost of around 300 jobs and the indirect employment 430 people. The second phase will see the creation of around 445 jobs and the indirect employment of over 500 people.