Fight for the Reef has welcomed media reports that Glencore Xstrata has dumped plans to build a coal export terminal at Balaclava Island, citing poor coal market conditions.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director Felicity Wishart has called on the Australian and Queensland governments to guarantee there will be no future industrial development on Balaclava Island.
“The decision by Glencore Xstrata to scrap plans for an export terminal at Balaclava Island is a significant step forward for the protection of the local community, fish and bird habitat and near-by portions of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Wishart said today.
“Concerned community members, including Ginny Gerlach who had planned to address the Glencore Xstrata AGM in Switzerland this week, have worked tirelessly to protect the Island and the precious marine life that call its surrounding waters home.
“Today’s announcement by Glencore Xstrata provides the Australian and Queensland government the opportunity to legislate for the full protection of Balaclava Island and its waters against any further plans for industrial development.
“It’s also an ideal time for implementing UNESCO recommendations to halt new industrial developments along the GBR coastline.
“There are still plans for four mega-ports, millions of tonnes of dredging and thousands more ship movements, creating a shipping superhighway through the Reef’s waters. It’s time to consider the full and cumulative impacts of these industrial developments on local communities, marine life and the Reef.
“The Glencore Xstrata announcement clearly demonstrates even coal companies won’t bet on the future of coal. It’s time Premier Campbell Newman realised a healthy Queensland economy relies on a healthy Reef, not developments with high economic and environmental risk,” Ms Wishart said.
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