Queensland Senator Larissa Waters listens to Prof Ove Hoegh-Gulberg as he answers questions from senators at the Environment and Communications References Committee at the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane, Monday, July 21, 2014. Senators from across Australia will gather in Brisbane to hear about the Australian government and Queensland government's management of the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters listens to Prof Ove Hoegh-Gulberg as he answers questions from senators at the Environment and Communications References Committee at the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane, Monday, July 21, 2014. Senators from across Australia will gather in Brisbane to hear about the Australian government and Queensland government's management of the Great Barrier Reef. AAP Image - Dan Peled

Study reveals dredging doubles the risk of coral disease

THE Queensland resources industry has claimed a study revealing dredging doubles the risk of coral disease does "not change much" for managing port developments near the Great Barrier Reef.

Released last week, the study of a dredging project off the coast of West Australia provided the first concrete evidence of dredging and dumping of sediment causing coral diseases.

It also renewed concerns about port developments near reefs off the Queensland coast, especially at the controversial Abbott Point dumping site and remaining dredging proposed in the Western Basin at Gladstone harbour.

But Queensland Resource Council chief executive Michael Roche claimed on Monday the study did not largely change the need to regulate port expansions near the reef.

He said while such studies were "obviously of value to planning for future projects", it did not change the knowledge about the effects of dredging and offshore dumping.

That was despite the study highlighting its implications for the reef World Heritage Area, and numerous scientists supporting its findings since its release.

Mr Roche also told a Senate inquiry hearing in Brisbane the resources industry felt the existing regulatory regime, and a handover of environmental approvals to the Queensland Government, would not affect the rigours of such processes.

That was despite reports from both the Queensland Auditor-General and Australian National Audit Office in recent months highlighting a litany of failures in compliance and enforcement of approval conditions at both levels of government.



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