Home > Three month delay on Abbot Point expansion decision

Three month delay on Abbot Point expansion decision

article image The decision to expand Abbot Point Coal terminal has again been delayed.

The decision to expand Abbot Point Coal terminal has again been delayed as Environment Minister Mark Butler assess the impacts of dredging around the area.

It is the second time a decision on the expansion has been postponed.

A final decision on the project was first expected in July, but Mark Butler said he needed more time to assess the impacts after only just taking over from Tony Burke as Environment Minister.

On Friday, Butler again delayed giving the project the green light after being handed new reports on the possible impacts of the expansion.

Butler said the decision would be postponed for three more months.

"A number of reports have only just been delivered to me, which potentially impact on the Abbot Point assessment," Butler said.

"The various, significant environmental imperatives must be considered, as does the potential for jobs growth, which is vital for a range of coastal and inland communities.

"In order for these matters to be fully considered I have stopped the clock on my department's assessment of the Abbot Point Capital Dredging proposal for a period of three months.

"This does not prevent a decision being made earlier if I believe I have enough information to make an informed decision.''

There is strong support from Bowen locals who want to see the expansion go ahead with more than 600 hundred people attending a rally last month urging the Federal Government to back the project.

Bruce Hedditch from the Bowen Business Chamber said the expansion would create jobs and economic stability to the region.

"We need this to further cement our economic stability by having a good export facility at Abbot Point," he said.

"If it doesn't go ahead, we're going to be like all other communities in Australia, we're going to be struggling."

Queensland Resource Council chief Michael Roche, said he was not surprised with that a decision has been deferred.

"It was always going to be difficult for him to make a calm and reasoned decision in the hothouse political environment of an election campaign," Roche said.

Greenpeace called the delay a "missed opportunity'' claiming that dredging works present clear threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

''The Minister has timidly hand-balled the decision to whichever party is elected on September 7. Based on overwhelming evidence, Minister Butler should have rejected the dredging proposal outright,'' said Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Matthiesson.

The decision was welcomed by Greens candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj.

"It's a welcome move that hopefully allows all the facts and impacts of the project to be considered," he said.

The $6.2 billion expansion of the coal port would see four additional coal terminals built; which would provide an extra annual capacity of 120 million tonnes and would support the developments in the Bowen, Surat, and Galilee Basins of Queensland.

Combined with other port expansions, this latest development would make Abbot Point one of the world’s largest coal ports, boasting seven terminals and a capacity of almost 300 million tonnes annually.

Image: theaustralian.com.au

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