Gladstone gets $1 million for healthy harbour partnership

ONE of the panels tasked with improving the state of Gladstone Harbour's environment has been given an extra $1 million to complete its work.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced the extra funds for the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership on Friday.

The extra funding comes on top of $4 million the Queensland Government provided last year, with $1 million to establish the group and $3 million for ongoing work.

The partnership involves Gladstone Ports Corporation, the Gladstone Region Environment Advisory Network, big industry and council, aiming to maintain and "where necessary", improve the state of the harbour.

It is one of several such bodies set up in recent years to oversee the harbour, and the extra funding comes a day after Mr Hunt revealing an independent review panel to investigate a leaking bund wall at the port.

That review panel includes two members of last year's inquiry into the Gladstone Port, which recommended more support for the partnership, despite its role duplicating that of several other groups.

The dredging project remains under a cloud, with the most recent investigation, the second of two court cases, and increasing reports of problems in the assessment and investigations of the project and the fish disease outbreak.

Mr Hunt was also preparing to send his latest report on action to protect the harbour and the wider Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to meet UNESCO demands, on Saturday.

He said the extra funding would be provided over the next two years, and demonstrated the Commonwealth's commitment to working with the state government to improve the harbour and the wider WHA.

Mr Hunt said the partnership was a forum to bring together parties to work towards "the highest environmental standards for the Gladstone Harbour".

"The guiding principles of the partnership are open, honest and accountable management, annual reporting of the health of Gladstone Harbour, and management recommendations and actions based on rigorous science and strong stakeholder engagement."

The funding will be provided over the next two years from this financial year.

The 2013 Independent Review on the Port of Gladstone recommended that the Australian Government support the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership.

The announcement came just hours before the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was due to hand down its decision on the dumping of dredge spoils in a World Heritage Listed area as part of the expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal.



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