News

Science or spin?

Gladstone Harbour testing shows it’s not “toxic”, however, Erin Brockovich says she is worried about destruction of the harbour.
Gladstone Harbour testing shows it’s not “toxic”, however, Erin Brockovich says she is worried about destruction of the harbour. Brenda Strong

THE fish health saga on Gladstone Harbour has become a celebrity cause, but is scientific evidence drowning in a sea of cliches?

Erin Brockovich appeared on Channel 7's Today Tonight last week to voice her concerns over what she believes is the destruction of Gladstone Harbour by the controversial dredging project.

Ms Brockovich is the celebrity face of Shine Lawyers, which is representing a large group of commercial fishermen in a legal fight for compensation from the Gladstone Ports Corporation.

She has a decorated history of fighting environmental lawsuits in the United States and Shine Lawyers are hoping her support can turn the tide in their favour.

Ms Brockovich's appearance on television did not contain any evidence to back her claims and the program did not provide any response from Gladstone Ports Corporation or the relevant government departments.

Today Tonight yesterday told The Observer they had not sought a scientific response to her claims, because the story was "not an investigation into the harbour dredging".

Instead, it was a story about "a celebrity environmentalist".

Shine Lawyers and Gladstone commercial fisherman Trevor Falzon commented in the show to back up Ms Brockovich's claims.

An Environment and Heritage Protection spokesman yesterday reiterated there was no evidence of toxicity in the harbour.

"The latest water quality sampling is consistent with historical trends, apart from the impacts of the January 2011 floods, resulting in lower salinity levels, which was also seen in other parts of the state," he said.

"The measured water quality parameters and their variation are consistent with expectations for a highly dynamic, urbanised and industrial harbour and port."

 

Joining the fight

Asked what scientific evidence it was relying on, Shine Lawyers said it had gathered a number of affidavits from fisherman, local business owners, scientists and the QSIA in support of the case.

They will also rely on recent findings from UNESCO's investigations into the development surrounding the Great Barrier Reef and "photographic evidence of the diseased marine life".

Shine Lawyers said Erin Brockovich's next trip to Australia would "very well include a visit to Gladstone".

Topics:  erin brockovich, gladstone harbour, media, science, shine lawyers, tv




16-yo Gladstone model knows what she wants and is on her way to getting it

Gladstone girl Josie McAullay won the 2015 Miss Country Girl Australia Gladstone preliminary and will be representing Gladstone in September at the MCGA National Final against 79 other hopefuls from around Australia.

Laidback 16-year-old Gladstone model dreams of life by sea.

Gladstone man charged after search warrent reveals alleged drug lab

Police from the Gladstone Criminal Investigation Branch have charged a man after locating an alleged clandestine drug lab in Gladstone Central yesterday.

At 9am police executed a search warrant at a Central Lane address.

Busy Gladstone facility to receive $3m revamp

Community and youth development officer Bec Frost is really happy about the new funding for the PCYC. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

The expansion will boost jobs too, with a "locals first” focus.

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

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"