US lawsuit brings Gladstone Harbour into global focus
QUEENSLAND environment group Save the Reef says the lawsuit against the funding of Curtis Island proves international concern about the mismanagement of Gladstone Harbour is growing.
US conservation groups on Friday filed a lawsuit against US Export-Import Bank's $3 billion financing of LNG developments on the island.
Save the Reef spokesman Dr Andrew Jeremijenko says action to protect the Great Barrier Reef has been disappointing, and welcomed the court action.
"We hope that it will help the state and federal environment and mining ministers to understand the apprehension that current mismanagement of Gladstone is causing internationally," Dr Jeremijenko says.
"The Ministerial Forum on the Great Barrier Reef last Tuesday was disappointing.
"The reef is in crisis and all we are getting is a repetition of old ideas including self-congratulatory government reports.
"The joint communiqué describes the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan as 'successful', and this in a year when the Australian Institute of Marine Science reported that 50% of all corals have died since 1985, and that damage is greatest in the southern and central parts of the reef."
Save the Reef spokeswoman Dr Libby Connors says the group is also disappointed federal Minister for Resources Tourism and Energy, Martin Ferguson, and state Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, were members of the forum.
Dr Connors says the Intergovernmental Agreement signed by Kevin Rudd and Anna Bligh in 2009 expressly states that "ministers responsible for mining may not be members of the forum".
"Martin Ferguson's ministerial portfolio includes mining and both he and Andrew Cripps proudly trumpet their pro-mining agenda," she says.
Save the Reef argues this represents a serious conflict of interest with stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.
"The reef is threatened by sediment run off from Central Queensland mining and LNG developments on Curtis Island, increased port development and greater shipping movements in reef waters for coal and gas," Dr Connors says.
"Immense damage is being caused to the southern reef from port and LNG facility development but the ministerial forum thinks that it is business as usual.
"We really hope that the US court action will alert Australians to the self-interested advice that we are being fed by governments."