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Shoalwater Bay Wilderness Awareness Group opposes new coal terminal

Shoalwater Bay Wilderness Awareness Group media release Mon 21st july

Locally based Shoalwater Wilderness Awareness Group (SWAG ) is deeply concerned about the recent announcement of a coal terminal in Shoalwater Bay. SWAG has been assessing currently available information released by the premier Anna Bligh and Waratah Coal, regarding the coal facility at Port Clinton 40km north of Byfield adjoining the National Park. Information released indicates plans are further developed than SWAG was previously led to believe. While details are still sketchy, the scale and purpose of the project, the proposed site inside a military reserve surrounded by Great barrier Reef 'Green Zones" all raise grave concerns for the environment and for public health.

"Port Clinton is one of the most important parts of the Shoalwater/Byfield Wilderness Area", SWAG spokesman and Byfield resident Steve Bishopric said."It is a 20km by 10 km sheltered , very shallow bay with a rock bar running across its middle and a moving sand bar across its mouth. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.The Shoalwater Bay region, with RAMSAR listed wetlands and subject to two migratory bird treaties ,includes seagrass meadows that feed Queensland's endangered dugong population. The massive dredging required to make this a deep water port would have devastating consequences on the Great Barrier Reef."

"Port Clinton is less than 10 km from the Waterpark Creek catchment, which is the Capricorn Coasts water supply and any coal dust pollution will be carried via Waterpark Creek to the Byfield National Park and Yeppoon beaches. Other sites proposed even closer to the Byfield National Park pose an even greater risk."

Australian Defence forces regularly use Shoalwater Bay for major international combined forces training. This involves closure of the entire area and exercises, some involving USA Aircraft carrier battle groups some vessels nuclear powered, Airforce and Army. It is total madness to even consider this proposal with Bulk carriers anchoring in the middle of Australia's largest war games, in a green Zone of the GBRMNP and adjoining the Byfield National Park." Steve concluded.

SWAG will be supporting the Capricorn Conservation Council's public meeting and panel discussion, with invited guests, at the Yeppoon Town Hall on Wednesday 30th July at 7pm. All Welcome.

See also: www.shoalwaterbay.org, www.cccqld.org.au, Capricornia Conservation Council fights expansion of Queensland coal industry, Coal port proposal another insult to Queensland's biggest wilderness region, comment added by CoalPortal on 17 Nov 2011 and reposted here.

What you can do: attend public meeting at Yeppoon Town Hall, Wednesday 30th July at 7pm. Phone 07 4938 1818.

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Comments

Thanks to $200 million of taxpayers' money, and farmers efforts, the amount of dredge to be taken from the Great Barrier Reef has been reduced by 340,000 tonnes.

That's the good news!

The bad news is that 140 million tonnes of marine sediment are proposed to be dredged during port development in the Great Barrier Reef over the next decade, according to my calculations from port development plans.

That enormous amount of material in the water will have tremendous effect on marine creatures, such as dogongs, turtles, fish and seagrass. More developments are up for approval, including a decision by Environment Minister Tony Hunt, due by 13 December on whether Abbot Point can be expanded to become one of the world’s biggest coal ports, which would involve dumping 3 million cubic metres of dredged spoil into the reef.

This could do great damage to Australia too. Due to UNESCO listing, it could hurt Australia economically if it hit reef tourism, which brings in $6.4 billion a year in direct spending and employs more than 64,000 people.

Australia obviously can't look after the environment, either our unique biodiversity richness or our world class natural heritage. The Colonial mentality of slash, burn, cut, kill and dig still exists today, but with even bigger equipment! Despite all our understanding of environmental impacts and climate change, the destruction continues. It's profits and corporations against conservation and coal exports.

The problem of aiming for perpetual economic growth means continually loosening environmental controls, and losing control of what really values. We have such a rich natural heritage, being wrecked by incompetent governments and their slavery to corporate mega-dollars.

Brisbane Times: Dredging set to swamp decades of Great Barrier Reef protection

“Australia continues to give the go-ahead for the development of several new coal and natural gas ports within the Great Barrier Reef.” According to the presage of Blue Ocean Institute Founder, PBS’ Saving Oceans host, and award-winning author Carl Safina in National Geographic: “The continued destruction of the reef seems inevitable.”

ForceChange: Petition President Obama to save our Great Barrier Reef, seeing the Australian government is blinded by $$$$