The Mackay-based Resources Industry Network (RIN) has entered debate about the Abbott Point expansion and other Queensland resource projects, claiming it seeks to counter “misleading” claims by environmental activists.
Formerly known as the Mackay Area Industry Network, the lobby group released a statement suggesting the resources sector and environmental management can co-exist with a balanced approach and scientific facts.
“The ongoing global negative focus by conservationists on mining are a constant threat to not just jobs in this region, but to the industry and economy as a whole,” RIN said.
"Conservationists regularly present misleading and unfounded information to elicit emotional support for the anti-mining cause, pulling on the heart-strings of individuals and even countries to garner support.
“These activists unashamedly aim to ‘disrupt and delay key projects and infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political support for the industry and continually building the power of the movement to win more’.”
RIN said its members were locals concerned about the area’s industry, and that they need to vocally support their industry by presenting their balanced viewpoints.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) approved the dumping of dredge spoil inside the marine park in January, in order to aid the expansion of the Abbott Point coal port.
The decision was condemned by senior marine scientists, who have said the already declining marine reef system will be further affected by the dumping of spoil, adding to damage caused by agricultural run-off, overfishing and extreme weather events.
Federal environment minister Greg Hunt approved the expansion and dumping, but recently told ABCs Four Corners program that Abbot Point was a "line in the sand", guaranteeing that no further dumping will take place in the marine park under his watch.
“I made the decision that this would be the last time, that we were changing the practice,” he said.
“Since then we have stopped four inherited proposals from proceeding which would have seen material deposited into the marine park.”
The Abbott Point expansion will be required to facilitate the export of coal from the newly approved Carmichael Coal mine, which will supply thermal coal to India.