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Abbot Point expansions receive Federal approval

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Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has approved the dredging programs for the Abbot Point port and the Arrow Energy LNG facility on Curtis Island.

In a release yesterday the minister said "these projects are for existing developed port and industrial sites and have been approved subject to the highest environmental standards and conditions".

The projects in include the capital dredging for the 0,2, and 3 Terminals at the Port; the Adani T0 project at Abbot Point; the Arrow LNG facility on Curtis Island; and the Arrow Gas transmission pipeline to Curtis Island.

There have been a number of concerns raised over the affect the dredging will have on the Great Barrier Reef, with environmentalists last month calling for the rejection of the proposed coal loading project and the dredging at the port.

Getup say they are concerned about the practice - known as transhipping - drawing comparisons to a similar project in Indonesia which they say has caused significant environmental damage. Although these concerns were dismissed by the Queensland Resources Council, which pointed to the importance of the port's expansion to the nation's economy.

Hunt made a point in his statement on the approvals to allay concerns, saying although "these projects were started under Labor, but the Coalition has taken major steps to minimise the environmental impact".

He went on to outline a plan to protect the Reef.

I have advised the Queensland Government that it is my intention that the first priority for all future capital dredging projects within the Central and North Queensland coastal zone will be for shoreline, near to shore or land reclamation disposal.
This is a significant step towards improving and protecting the Marine Park for future generations.
This follows my recent agreement with the Gladstone Ports Authority that they will not dispose of up to 12 million cubic metres of spoil within the Marine Park, but will instead use this material for land infill.
This approach would allow existing ports to expand their capacity while taking away the need for the creation of new ports into the future. This would maximise the benefit of existing ports, in line with the Queensland Government’s recently announced Ports Strategy.

His announcement on the expansion of operations at Gladstone came as a Greenpeace steamed into port to survey developments.

The protest vessel Esperanza anchored off Gladstone, and expressed their concerns over the port's developments, the Gladstone Observer reports.


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