Have your say on Abbot Point project
IN more than 2000 pages, the Queensland Government is now asking the public to weigh in on the future of Abbot Point, north of Airlie Beach.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the draft Environmental Impact Statement was now available for public comment until 18 September.
"This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver for Queenslanders," he said.
"We've delivered on our election commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the nationally-significant Caley Valley Wetlands.
"We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal, and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal.
"The community can now have its say on the draft EIS with around 2400 pages of detailed investigatory information and almost 150 commitments to protect the environment."
Dr Lynham said the draft EIS would be available for comment until close of business on 18 September, allowing more than 20 business days for public consultation.
The proposed expansion of Abbot Point will boost its capacity to meet anticipated export demand from proposed Galilee Basin mining projects.
"Importantly, any expansion at the port will be at the cost of Galilee Basin developers, including Adani, not Queensland taxpayers," he said.
"The Queensland Government will deliver a robust final EIS, which will include feedback from consultation, to the Commonwealth Government in early October.
"It's then up to the Commonwealth Government, which has 40 business days to assess the EIS and deliver a final decision on the project.
"Work will only begin when environmental approvals have been received.
"We expect these works will create around 160 jobs for at peak construction."
Submissions are open until 5pm, September 18, 2015.
Meanwhile The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has called on the Queensland Government to cancel the Abbot Point expansion today, following the release of the EIS.
"Over the last month we have witnessed a backlash to the Carmichael coal mine, the project driving the Abbot Point Port expansion, from international financial institutions, the Australian courts, the Australian public and the tourism industry," Gemma Plesman, Great Barrier Reef Campaigner for AMCS said
"This proposal has no public mandate yet both the Queensland State and Federal Governments seem intent on fast tracking the approval of Abbot Point for the mining industry.
"How can they justify pushing this project that risks our Reef and has the odds stacked against it?
"This project would mean increased shipping, dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of seabed and the mining and burning of more coal which contributes to global warming, all that would endanger the Reef.
Mining lobby group Queensland Resources Council said Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Clermont, Emerald, Barcaldine and Alpha were all towns that could take heart with the continuing expansion of Abbot Point.
''We congratulate the state government on producing a comprehensive draft EIS containing 150 commitments to the environment,' chief executive Mr Roche said.
'Interested community members should examine the material released today and take an opportunity to comment by September 18.
To view the draft EIS visit:
- From tomorrow, State Library of Queensland and libraries in Bowen, Townsville (Flinders St) and Mackay (Gordon St)
Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project
Department of State Development
PO Box 15009
City East QLD 4002