Environment Minister Tony Burke
Environment Minister Tony Burke

Minister imposes conditions

ENVIRONMENT Minister Tony Burke approved, with strict environmental conditions, two coal seam gas projects at Gladstone, and the dredging of Gladstone Port's western basin yesterday.

“After rigorous assessments that included public consultation and the advice of experts, I consider that these projects can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environment law,” Mr Burke said.

“While there are significant economic benefits to these projects, which must be a consideration in my decision, my focus has been on protecting environmental matters such as protected species and ecological communities.

“I also considered potential impacts on agricultural land and the Great Artesian Basin, among other economic and social matters.

“I have imposed more than 300 strict conditions each on the Santos and Queensland Gas Company coal seam gas projects to help protect groundwater-dependent species and minimise other environmental impacts.

“The companies must carry out detailed planning and monitoring to protect groundwater resources, and submit management plans for aquifers, groundwater and surface water for approval.

“They will also be required to co-operate with the Queensland Water Commission in the development of a regional model.”

Under the dredging approval, Gladstone Ports Corporation will have to comply with more than 50 strict environmental conditions for its western basin dredging project.

“The conditions I've imposed on the dredging project will help to minimise any impact on the world and national heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as nationally threatened and migratory species, including dugongs, turtles and dolphins,” Mr Burke said.

“Gladstone Ports Corporation will fund a $7 million regional ecosystem research and monitoring program, which will include funding for marine mammal, turtle and migratory shorebirds research.

“In addition, the company will invest $5 million in activities aimed at threatened and migratory species protection, habitat improvement and restoration.

“Gladstone Ports Corporation must also develop and implement rigorous management plans to monitor water quality and adaptively manage the impacts of dredging.”

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