News

CSIRO scientist leads inquiry into Gladstone bund wall

Curtis Island and Gladstone Harbour have been the subject of criticism since a bund wall leakage in 2011.
Curtis Island and Gladstone Harbour have been the subject of criticism since a bund wall leakage in 2011. Australian Marine Conservation Society

UPDATE 7.40AM: Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has appointed a three-member independent panel to give him "fearless" advice on what went wrong with Australia's biggest dredging project in Gladstone Harbour.

The Australian reports the panel will focus on what caused a bund wall, built to retain dredge spoils, to leak and what impact it had on the marine environment. Mr Hunt said the inquiry had a wide brief to look at other matters associated with the dredging project.

The panel will be co-chaired by CSIRO scientist Andrew Johnson, who is also a member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and Anthea Tinney, whom Mr Hunt said had "previous experience and considerable knowledge regarding the management of the Port of Gladstone".

Also on the panel will be Ian Cresswell, who is the deputy director of CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

Under the terms of reference, the independent panel will:

  • Examine and report on information relevant to the design, construction and functioning of the outer bund wall of the western basin reclamation area.
  • Provide advice to assist with the department's current review of the outer bund wall leak incidents in 2011 and 2012.
  • Consider the adequacy of monitoring requirements and operations.
  • Seek submissions from relevant stakeholders on the design, construction and other matters relating to the subsequent leaking of the bund wall.

It's anticipated the findings will be made available by the end of March, but the deadline could be extended if necessary.

About the panel:

Dr Andrew Johnson is a member of the CSIRO executive team and CSIRO's group executive - environment, with responsibilities for leading the organisation's water, land, climate, marine, biodiversity, urban sustainability, regional development and natural resource management research.

His professional interests are in natural resource planning and policy, public participation in private and public sector decision-making and novel approaches to support rural and regional development.

Anthea Tinney is chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and a member of the Australian Government's Independent Communications Committee.

She chaired the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone last year. That review was formed by the Federal Government at the request of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. 

She was a deputy secretary in the federal environment portfolio and, before to retiring from the Australian Public Service in 2008, was appointed as the interim CEO of the National Film and Sound Archive. 

Dr Ian Cresswell is the deputy director of CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Flagship, a national research initiative delivering science help to Australians in a way that balances economic, social and environmental benefit.

He has extensive experience working in environment and sustainable development nationally and internationally in several different areas, including marine planning, fisheries, wildlife regulation, cetacean policy and research, protected areas and biodiversity discovery.

EARLIER: The terms of reference for a long-awaited inquiry into the Gladstone Harbour bund wall failure during dredging works in 2011 is set to be released by the end of the week, but environmental groups fear it could be a rush job.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt confirmed the terms of reference, or what guides the inquiry, will be released this week, with a spokesperson saying the inquiry would be completed with "a relatively prompt turnaround".

OTHER TOP STORIES:

>> Damaging winds forecast as tropical low heads towards coast

>> Miriam Vale struggles after months without a local doctor

>> Teen stabs cousin over music volume

Local conservation groups fear this could be code for "rush job", and called for a thorough inquiry into dredging in the Gladstone Harbour, rather than simply focusing on the leaking of the bund wall.

"Our fear would be that this is simply going to be completed very quickly and with little scrutiny," Gladstone Conservation Council treasurer Cheryl Watson said.

"It's looking like this is simply going to be a rush job. I really want this to work, but I don't think this is going to be the wide-ranging, independent, thorough review that the minister has been talking about."

>> Special report: Who pays the real price for dredging along the coast?

Ms Watson also questioned who exactly had been consulted in setting the terms of reference.

Mr Hunt's office said it had conducted "wide consultation" on the terms.

His office would not comment further on whether the prompt turnaround meant a rush job, only saying that details on the terms and the inquiry would be released shortly.

The inquiry is set to look into revelations that faults with the bund wall used to contain dredge spoil during the dredging program associated with LNG projects on Curtis Island were the fault of designers or the construction company.

The leakage is believed to have been caused by a thinner-than-needed geotextile lining, with the leaking used as part of a case study by senior engineers Bill Service, a dredging supervisor with QGC, and Warren Hornsey, an engineer who works with geosynthetic materials.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation maintains a leakage of dredge spoil into the harbour was not to blame for fish disease observed during 2011 and 2012.

Bund wall construction timeline:

October 2010: Federal government approves construction

November 2010: Construction begins

July 2011: Construction complete

 

Topics:  bund wall, curtis island, dredging, fish health, gladstone harbour, gladstone ports corporation, lng




Researchers baffled to why Lady Elliott manta is pink: Watch

UNIQUE: Clouseau, the pink under-bellied manta ray, has been spotted twice at Lady Elliott Island.

A unique creature is offshore Lady Elliott Island

The beauty trend quickly taking over Gladstone faces

Cosmetic tattooing has been around for years, and was at its peak popularity 20 years ago, according to tattooist and beauty therapist Georgi.

AND more experts in the field are moving to Gladstone

FUEL PRICES: Where you can pick up cheap fuel in Gladstone

Your guide to fuel prices in the Gladstone region today.

Your guide to where to buy fuel right now.

Latest deals and offers

Johnny Depp 'deeply respects' Amber Heard

Celebrity

Amber Heard gives away $7 million settlement to charity

The true cost of 60 Minutes debacle revealed

It's a bill that would make even a silk tied barrister blush

Aussie rapper in town for first ever Gladstone show

HE'S BACK: Drapht returns to the stage with his first Gladstone show this Friday.

Catch Drapht for his first Gladstone show this Friday night.

Kirk Douglas is defiant, fierce and still standing

VETERAN ACTOR: Kirk Douglas has had a long and varied career.

Kirk Douglas has out-lived almost all his contemporaries

The Hard Word reviews Kyzer Soze

Kyzer Soze are playing Brisbane tomorrow at the Crowbar in Fortitude Valley. Photo Contributed

Kyzer Soze summon the evil for this mighty slab of death metal

Britney Spears 'almost drowned' in Hawaii

Britney Spears has revealed she 'almost drowned' while on holiday

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.