Gladstone harbour given a C on report card

State Environment Minister Andrew Powell (front left) is in Gladstone for the launch of the first Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership report card.
State Environment Minister Andrew Powell (front left) is in Gladstone for the launch of the first Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership report card. Mara Pattison-Sowden

THE environmental health of Gladstone harbour has been given a C in the first report card released by the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership.

The report card was launched at CQUniversity on Thursday morning, with state Environment Minister Andrew Powell in attendance.

The social health of the harbour also has been given a C, while the economic health received a B.

Environmental results varied across harbour zones, with the best results in the inner harbour and the worst at Auckland Inlet.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said there had been a lot of conflicting points of view about what the health of the harbour was like.

"This report card will make clear those results based on scientific valuation where science is the appropriate criteria, as well as community aspirations, views and ideas where that is appropriate," she said.

"There's been a lot of negativity and a lot of impacts on the harbour over the years, and in both the recreational, fishing, industrial, communities, all of whom have different points of view and different relationships to the harbour

"What it's doing is reflecting what the harbour is like now, telling the community internationally, nationally and locally what the harbour is like and how going forward it can be improved."

Mrs Cunningham said the indicators in the report card were that the harbour was satisfactory.

"There's a way forward to build positively on that, have a look at what's gone on and feed into that satisfactory result and focus on the issues that are highlighted

"It gives a lot of data and information that gives the decision-makers the ability to make the right decisions into the future."

The Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership's first report card is launched.
The Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership's first report card is launched.

Auckland Inlet, Calliope Estuary, Boyne Estuary and Boat Creek all received a D (poor) rating for water quality.

South Trees Inlet, the inner and outer harbour, and Graham Creek received a B (good).

The score was based on water quality, taking into account dissolved oxygen and turbidity, total nitrogen and phosphorus, and metals such as aluminium and copper.

An environmental C means the harbour meets the relevant state and federal government Marine Water Quality guidelines.

The parternship said that in understanding how the results were obtained, it should be noted that the annual rainfall for the area was below average, with no major shipping incidents recorded and no major dredging activities undertaken during the year, all of which likely influenced the grades. 

>> Read more on the report card here

Initiated in response to intense controversy and community concern in regards to the overall health of Gladstone harbour, the report delivers a review based on four perspectives.

Environmental, economic, social and cultural elements have been examined over the past 13 months.

The Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership hopes the report card will provide an opportunity for stakeholders and the wider community to comment on the contents and approach of the card.

"The Pilot Report Card is based on indicators of water quality, social health and economic health between July 2013 and June 2014," a release issued by the GHHP read.

"All information and data used in this Pilot Report Card has been assessed by the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership Independent Science Panel.

"The Independent Science Panel is made up of scientists who are renowned and respected leaders in their fields of expertise."

Key considerations during the period under scrutiny within the report include a below-average rainfall, no major shipping incidents occurring and no major dredging activities undertaken.

It was stated by the GHHP that all of the above factors would have likely influenced the grades.

Gladstone environmentalist Kaye Wood said the report was desperately needed years earlier.

"Hopefully the worst is already behind us," she said.

"The work of the GHHP is great, but I fear a little too late."



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