Media Release Fight For Our Reef

Queensland Government must band Great Barrier Reef trans-shipping – or break election promise

September 22, 2017

In response to the draft consultation paper released today by the Queensland government on trans-shipping in the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has called on the government to fully implement its 2015 election commitment.

Imogen Zethoven, AMCS’ Fight For Our Reef Campaign Director said:

“In 2015, the Australian Labor Party promised to prohibit trans-shipping operations within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The consultation paper released today doesn’t fulfil that promise. Instead it sets up an assessment framework that allows trans-shipping to extend from the four priority ports – Townsville, Abbot Point, Hay Point and Gladstone – out to the Marine Park.

“Labor made a clear commitment to ban trans-shipping in the Marine Park. Now they are retreating from that promise. AMCS calls on the Labor government to fully implement their election commitment.

“Labor was elected on a platform to save the Great Barrier Reef, and prohibiting trans-shipping in the Marine Park was a key element of that. Trans-shipping is the transfer of bulk materials like coal, sugar or petroleum from one vessel to another offshore. It doesn’t include package materials or fishing vessels.

“Trans-shipping is risky. It increases the risk of a major accident such as a massive coal spill, and increases the risk of regular, chronic contamination from, for example, coal dust and small coal spills.

“It will increase ship movements meaning more noise, more light, more likelihood of ship strikes of marine animals. It increases the risk of damage to seagrass meadows, home to turtles and dugongs, and corals – through dredging and anchoring to establish the trans-shipping site.

“The Queensland Government’s Reef 2050 Plan includes the following target: Shipping within our Reef is safe, risks are minimised, and incidents are reduced to as close to zero as possible. Only a ban on trans-shipping in the Marine Park will ensure that target is met.”

Editors notes:

The Proposed regulation of trans-shipping activities in Queensland waters and the Great Barrier Reef paper can be found at:

Public comment can be submitted at:

For further information please contact:

Gemma Freeman, AMCS Media and Communications Officer – 0412 505 405 – [email protected]

Imogen Zethoven AO, Fight For Our Reef Campaign Director – 0431 565 495 – [email protected]