Hold people accountable for bund wall, firm tells inquiry

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

THOSE who neglected their duties while working on, or monitoring, a bund wall that failed on a massive dredging project in Gladstone Harbour must be held accountable.

That was the message the head of an independent environmental engineering firm has sent the Federal Government's review investigating the failures on the project.

The Western Basin dredging project has been embroiled in controversy since its works coincided with a still unexplained fish disease outbreak in the harbour in 2011.

Natural Resources Assessments' managing director Tim Anderson wrote a submission to the review, calling for those responsible for the failures to be held accountable.

Mr Anderson said while he was not involved in the project, it was clear something had gone wrong during the project or the monitoring and regulation stage.

"In our view, someone somewhere has not adhered to either the state or federal regulations, or both - or the regulators themselves have not done the proper checks and balances," he said.

"I've worked in the industry for longer than the regulations were around, and I don't think it's a case that the engineering laws or environmental laws have failed.

"Whether it was at the planning, design, construction or operations phase - somewhere along that continuum something has come unstuck.

"I'd like to see the panel to investigate that paper trail, sort out what went wrong and hold people accountable."

Mr Anderson said while he believed the regulation of such projects was sufficient, if adhered to, the failure appeared to not meet the regulations.

"I think to write more regulations to make up for it isn't the solution - what they need to do is find out where it went wrong, and make sure the laws are adhered to in the future."

"Either it's the private sector or the public sector, but if the private sector doesn't meet the regulations, then society relies on the government to make sure they do."

The bund wall review is due to report its findings to the Federal Government by the end of this month.

Topics:  bund wall engineering environment federal government gladstone harbour

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