Media Release Fight For Our Reef

Health of our Reef put at risk by port expansion

September 29, 2017

A proposal announced today by the Queensland government, to significantly expand the Port of Townsville, will put further pressure on our ailing Great Barrier Reef says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has announced that the Coordinator-General has approved the $1.64 billion port expansion. This will see 11.48 million cubic metres of sediment dredged from the sea floor to accommodate larger ships – which will have damaging effects on our Reef.

Tony Fontes, AMCS Fight For Our Reef Campaigner said:

“Our Great Barrier Reef has just suffered devastating back-to-back bleaching events which caused half of all our Reef’s shallow water corals to die.

“As well, the latest Reef report card rates water quality in the Great Barrier Reef as a D, which is very poor and dredging will only add to this problem. The poor water quality will make it more difficult for the Reef to recover.”

“This is not a one-off dredge event. Annual maintenance dredging (currently averaging 400,000 cubic metres per year) would increase by 14-17%. Maintenance dredge spoil is comprised predominantly of fine silts and clays, the fraction of sediment most detrimental to Reef ecosystems. This maintenance dredge spoil would be dumped in the water about 4 kilometres east of the northern tip of Magnetic Island.”

“We are also concerned that there is no strong case for expansion of the port. The port has always been underutilised. In 2016 Queensland Nickel, the port’s largest user – accounting for 56% by volume of the port’s imports – closed down.”

“We need to consider first and foremost the health of the Great Barrier Reef, a $56 billion asset and the 64,000 jobs that it supports.”

For further information please contact:
Tony Fontes, Fight For Our Reef Campaigner

0417 749 143 – [email protected]