Advocate calls for another harbour inquiry
A FULLY independent investigation of the management of Gladstone harbour, as ordered by the World Heritage Committee, is still needed, an environmental advocate said this week.
The comment from Australians for Animals' Sue Arnold came as revelations emerged this week that the bund wall review, an extension of the original inquiry, failed to interview key whistleblowers.
Ms Arnold had called for a full commission of inquiry into the Gladstone Ports Corporation's Western Basin dredging and associated works during a recent Senate inquiry.
While the Senate committee labelled recent developments in the harbour an "environmental disaster", neither major political party supported Ms Arnold's call.
Since the Senate inquiry reported, Ms Arnold obtained previously confidential documents through a Freedom of Information application, revealing key constraints and failures during the bund wall review itself.
APN has since established that witnesses to key failings on the bund wall project were not interviewed by the review panel, and that an independent engineer brought in to investigate the problems was not allowed to interview port staff.
Ms Arnold said she filed the FOI after her requests for a list of those called to give evidence was rejected.
"Given that in all my years as an activist I have never come across a public panel convened to review a major issue which has refused to provide a list of who they interviewed.
I had to do an FOI," she said.Ms Arnold said she believed there were also "other former employees of GPC who would give evidence to an independent commission of inquiry."
The entire process of investigation into Gladstone has been dominated by political interests and a deliberate obfuscation of the appalling situation which unfolded by bureaucrats and politicians from Queensland and the Commonwealth," she said.
The government is yet to respond to the bund wall review recommendations, and the Gladstone Ports Corporation has previously said it did not believe any further investigations were needed.
- APN NEWSDESK