Fight for the Reef campaigners said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt had let down Australians and failed the Reef.
GBRMPA today (31 January) issued a permit to allow three million cubic metres of dredge waste from the expansion of Abbot Point coal port to be dumped in Reef waters.
“This is a sad day for the Reef and anyone who cares about its future,” said WWF Great Barrier Reef Campaigner Richard Leck.
“Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt failed to show leadership on this issue. Mr Hunt could have stopped the dumping of dredge spoil in Reef waters instead he gave dumping the green light. That put GBRMPA in the position of having to refuse or issue a dumping permit.
“The World Heritage Committee will take a dim view of this decision which is in direct contravention of one of its recommendations. Committee members could decide at their June meeting in Doha to list the Reef as ‘World Heritage in Danger,’ he said.
Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director with AMCS Felicity Wishart said: “Most Australians will be shocked and angry at this decision by the Marine Park Authority and Minister Hunt to allow dumping of dredge spoil in Reef waters.
“Across the board, people expect them to defend the Reef, not approve its destruction.
“Polls show Australians want to see dumping of dredge spoil completely banned in the World Heritage waters of the Reef.
“Our analysis shows the Queensland and Federal Governments are failing to act on the World Heritage Committee’s concerns about the Reef and have failed to make good progress on any of the Committee’s recommendations to improve Reef management.
“Imagine the impact on the $6 billion tourism industry if the Reef is declared “World Heritage in Danger”.
“Australians will throw their weight behind the campaign to fight this decision which amounts to environmental vandalism.
“Out-dated practices like dumping dredge spoil in Reef waters must stop now,” she said.