GPC launches rebuttal to regulation breach accusations

DREDGING regulations were not breached on Gladstone Harbour, according the port authority.

Gladstone Ports Corporation launched a detailed rejection on Tuesday of claims made in an article in The Australian newspaper on Saturday.

The article contained claims by Australians for Animals co-ordinator Sue Arnold that GPC had breached conditions of its dredging licence.

A GPC statement said the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project had over 600 project conditions to protect the environment.

The spokesperson said GPC had met all requirements including "regular and ongoing audits covering all aspects of the project including audits from independent third parties on specific project conditions".

The full statement from Gladstone Ports Corporation:

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has not breached any conditions of the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project (WBDDP) license.

The Western Basin project has over 600 project conditions which provide a comprehensive set of environmental requirements set by the Commonwealth and State governments.

GPC meets these conditions including all audit requirements.

Regular and ongoing audits cover all aspects of the project including audits from independent third parties on specific project conditions.

Allegation 1 - The Australian articles of 16th and 18th of February 2013 claim two breaches of the WBDDP conditions.

These claims are refuted.

The allegations in The Australian of "audit failure" and that GPC has "breached federal approval conditions" by "failing to get an independent assessment of its work," and are in "defiance of conditions," and GPC has been "deliberately misleading", are false.

To date SEWPaC has not provided direction to undertake an independent audit. GPC on its own initiative did commission an independent Third Party Audit of the EPBC Compliance Conditions in 2011.

This report stated that GPC needed to gain approval from SEWPaC for the auditor and the scope of works. The report was not correct - a fact confirmed by SEWPaC.

The approval of SEWPaC was not required unless SEWPaC provided a direction to undertake the audit.

This fact was communicated to Sue Arnold from Australians for Animals on 5th of February 2013, but she has persisted in making this false claim.

On the 13th February 2013, GPC emailed Mr Graham Lloyd, Environmental Editor of The Australian, requesting the question he had regarding the compliance audit. No question was submitted.

Yet Mr Lloyd was compliant in repeating Ms Arnold's false claim.

Allegation 2 - "Sick fish, dead dolphins and dugongs and five legged frogs are signs that something has gone wrong."

A number of Queensland government assessments of the health of marine life in Gladstone harbour including a final summary report in January 2013, shows little evidence of sick fish etc - something confirmed by the regular Friday fishing reports in the local newspapers.

In June 2012, the Boyne Tannum Hook Up (Australia's largest fishing competition) with 2700 participants could not find one diseased fish in the waters and estuaries of Gladstone harbour.

Only Dr Landos stands against a welter of scientific reports and investigations with his claims of diseased and sick fish in Gladstone harbour.

Allegation 3 - "There is a cover-up" and the "GPC has withheld information from the scientific panel."

The statement is untrue.

GPC made all information and data in its possession available to the Gladstone Fish Research Fund.

Topics:  dredging gladstone harbour gpc the australian

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