Waratah Coals proposal for a massive mine, railway and Shoalwater Bay Coal port could be given the red light if Environment Minister Peter Garrett uses his existing powers and declares it clearly unacceptable under the provisions of the EPBC act (Section 74 B)
Outraged environmental groups, regional residents and the Australian Greens have all called on the minister to act to protect Queensland's beautiful Shoalwater Bay from the environmentally damaging project to avoid a long and expensive EIS process.
Shoalwater Protection Society spokesman Steve Bishopric said, "There is massive condemnation throughout Australia and locally to this ludicrous proposal. It is unprecedented that one project can trigger 6 out of 7 assessment criteria under the act (only lacking the nuclear component) and it is clearly unacceptable. People need to act immediately as time is almost out for this stage of proceedings. It is critical that those concerned contact the minister to voice their requests for him to declare the proposal unacceptable."
The 1994 Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Shoalwater Bay stated the values of this area and risks posed by enviromentally damaging developments in this pristine wilderness.
Specifically it stated:
The area's terrestrial and marine environments represent large and relatively undisturbed habitat areas for significant floral and faunal assemblages, including populations of rare and threatened species. The estuarine and marine sections of the Area contribute to important regional commercial fisheries. The area has a high level of Biodiversity and contains the catchment of the fresh water supply of the Capricorn Coast.
The geomorphological attributes of the eastern dunefields of the Area and the Clinton Lowland contribute significantly to the values of the area and to the Area's National Estate values.
The Area is the largest coastal area with high wilderness values on the East Coast of Australia south of Cooktown and, as such, is regionally and nationally very significant.
The whole of the Area's marine environment is included on the World Heritage list and on the Register of the National Estate; and the majority of it is included in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
People do have the right indeed an obligation to advise the minister of what they want for Australia. They should use his contact form on line at www.petergarrett.com.au/8.aspx
Or phone him on 02 62777640 or Fax 02 62736101.
Spokesman, Shoalwater Protection Society
E-Mail info [AT] shoalwaterbay org