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Coal port proposal another insult to Queensland's biggest wilderness region

Joint Media Release: of Friends of the Earth, the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia and Peace Convergence

18 July 08

Friends of the Earth Brisbane and the Peace Convergence are concerned at a proposal to build a new coal port on Australian Defence Force land at Shoalwater Bay in central Queensland. The port puts at risk Queensland's largest coastal wilderness area and increases the states contribution to climate change.

The Shoalwater Bay region, with RAMSAR listed wetlands and subject to two migratory bird treaties feeds into the seagrass meadows that fed Queensland's endangered dugong population. It has been the focus of community opposition to military activities in recent years.

Environmental spokesperson for the Peace Convergence, Kim Stewart, says, "This area is already at risk of toxic pollution and structural damage from the activities of the military. A coal port will lead to the further destruction of this unique area. The Shoalwater region should be returned to it's traditional owners to be managed."

Pat O'Brien, spokesperson for the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia says, "As Premier Bligh says, this development is of significance to the state, but for other reasons than profit of the coal industry. If we lose Shoalwater Bay to industry and development, we risk losing a significant site of natural heritage and contribute to the extinction of dugong and green sea turtles and the endemic species of flora found there."

Climate Justice spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Brisbane, Emma Brindal, says, "It's climate insanity to be further opening up the coal industry and doubly so because of the unfortunate choice of location for a port at Shoalwater. Premier Bligh has a duty to stop this development and set Queensland on the sustainable energy path.

"An opportunity exists for Premier Bligh to protect this important area from further development and enhance it's protection as a national treasure and for future generations."

Media:
Wildlife Protection Association of Australia: Pat O'Brien 0408 711 344
Peace Convergence & Friends of the Earth: Kim Stewart 0413 397839

www.wildlifeprotectaust.org.au
www.peaceconvergence.com
www.brisbane.foe.org.au