Halt development and dredging until review, lobby urges
THE Australian Marine Conservation Society wants port development and dredging to stop in Gladstone, until an independent review assesses its impact.
The Federal Government-appointed review panel was in Gladstone yesterday, meeting community groups and industry as part of its work.
Four of the panel members quizzed groups who had made submissions to the review, including the Gladstone Region Environmental Advisory Network.
GREAN chairman Col Chapman` said his members reinforced concerns about the independence of harbour health monitoring.
"We're not saying the information is incorrect, but there is a perception there could be some sort of credibility gap," he said.
Felicity Wishart from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said planning activity - such as last week's release of the channel duplication Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) guidelines - should halt while the review is conducted.
"The Newman government can't be much interested in the outcomes of the independent review if it is pushing ahead with fast-tracking industrial activity before the findings are released," Ms Wishart said.
"We know Gladstone Harbour and the Reef are already under serious stress; 12 million more cubic metres of dredging and increased shipping would speed up its decline."
The Gladstone Ports Corporation will meet the review panel today, and a spokesman said he looked forward to "open dialogue".
"The information GPC seek to provide to the review panel is to make them aware of the 20 years of planning and environmental monitoring that has taken place in the Gladstone harbour," he said. The panel, formed in February, must report by June 30.