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Petition Tag - great barrier reef
In January 2011, massive floods in Queensland spewed a plume of silt over the seagrass beds off the coast of Central Queensland, Australia, where the rare and endangered marine mammals, dugongs, feed and raise their young.
Now the Gladstone Ports Corporation, with the approval of the Queensland Government, is dredging and dumping 55 million tonnes of spoil on seagrass beds as part of a port expansion project. The Queensland's own Environment Minister has admitted the floods will badly affect habitat and could lead to "malnutrition and death" for dugongs and marine turtles. The World Wildlife Fund says the dumping on top of the floods is "a death of a thousand cuts" for dugongs.
Dugongs are classified as "vulnerable to extinction" by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Australian tropical waters are one of their last strongholds.
The Government claims there are conditions on the project. But those conditions don't take into account the effect of the floods. The Treasurer as Shareholder MInister for the Corporation should make sure the dumping is postponed until a proper study into the effects of the floods has been carried out and alternatives to dumping offshore have been properly investigated.
Scientific evidence indicates that coral is especially vulnerable to mortality caused by sediment deposits and toxins. Coal is a carbonaceous material known to contain toxic sulphur compounds and heavy metals.
Because of the flooding of coal mines from heavy rains, polluted water is being specifically discharged into coastal waterways of Queensland, in some cases illegally, and will deposit onto the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Queensland State Government has funded and Gladstone Regional Council is implementing unsustainable practices by funding and constructing a desalination plant and ocean outfall in the pristine area of Agnes Water/1770, at the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, despite there being other more appropriate environmentally sustainable solutions available for the provision of water.
The total cost of this project is approximately $39million for an approximate Expected Population of 1500, requiring $27million in State Government Funding.
The alternative eco-sustainable solution is $17Million for an approximate Expected Population of 10,000, requiring $6.4million in State Government Funding.
The alternative water security strategy referred to above, has been developed, tailored to meet the real expected population growth of Agnes Water/1770, incorporating tourism and does not require an ocean outfall into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This pristine area contains nesting turtles - Loggerhead, Leather-back, Green, Flat Back and Hawksbill Turtles; whales, dolphins andoverall is a very fragile ecosystem.
The alternative water security strategy was presented to The Gladstone Regional Council and dismissed. Some of the benefits of the alternative water strategy are:
• Lower Capital Cost
• Lower Operating Cost
• Built to 10,000 expected population
• Water security to 2030
• No impact on turtle hatcheries
• No impact on beaches
• Preserves pristine nature of area
Further to all of the above Gladstone Regional Council on 1 August 2008 agreed to construct a Sewerage Treatment Plant on an area 6 kilometres south of the main urban area, which would result in any future recycled water options being economically unviable.
The Gladstone Regional Council are knowingly locating water and sewerage infrastructure inappropriately in an area which would prevent any future sustainable water recycling and re-use alternatives being adopted.