Whistleblower claims harbour bund wall is still leaking

A FORMER Gladstone Ports Corporation employee has claimed the bund wall built to contain dredge spoils from work associated with the Curtis Island LNG projects is still leaking and could cost as much as $50 million to fix.

Former GPC environment manager turned whistleblower John Broomhead has told The Australian the wall is not fixed, after speaking out about issues surrounding the wall's construction.

"This thing is so hollow and the geotextile fabric against the wall so poorly installed it is going to continue to erode," Mr Broomhead said.

Changes to the shape and construction of the bund wall have been blamed for leaks and a rise in turbidity in Gladstone Harbour which coincided with a spike in fish, dolphin and turtle deaths in September 2011.

The faulty wall is believed to have added to stresses already on the waterway from heavy flooding, dredging and increased shipping to ferry workers and materials to the Curtis Island.

It's not the first time media reports have surfaced claiming the bund wall was still leaking.

In June last year ABC News reported the bund wall was leaking, and had images of water discharging out of the wall.

In a statement issued at the time, the ports corporation said a polishing pond weir box situated on the inside of the bund wall was not sealing properly and was fixed over the weekend of June 15-16.

The ports corporation said a claim that the water discharged was toxic was incorrect.

All controlled water releases from the reclamation area were monitored for water quality, it said.

The Queensland Government on Tuesday said it couldn't supply information on the original designs of the bund wall.

The ABC reports acting Environment Minister Ian Walker said the State Government had done all it could to ensure the safety of Gladstone Harbour.

"In relation to the other matters before that, they're a matter for the previous government," he said.

"We have to pick up, unfortunately, the situation as it was and that's what we've done to ensure that the environment is kept safe within the Gladstone region."

In a statement, the Gladstone Ports Corporation told the ABC Mr Broomhead's claims were unsubstantiated personal opinions.

Meanwhile, Greens senator Larissa Waters will move to establish a Senate inquiry into the bund wall when federal parliament sits next month.

Senator Waters said an independent probe into why the wall leaked in 2011 would expose any cover-ups.

It would have the power to force witnesses from government and the port developers to appear and make documents public, she said.

"These powers could prove necessary given recent allegations of serious mismanagement," Senator Waters said in a statement.

"We need to get to the bottom of the Gladstone Harbour environmental disaster and get any cover ups out in the open."

Federal Environmental Minister Greg Hunt has already ordered his department to conduct an inquiry into the leaking bund wall.



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