Resources council chief spruiks port sale benefits
GLADSTONE is set to gain many things from the Queensland Government's new Ports Strategy, but the support of environmentalists is not one of them.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche visited the city on Wednesday to talk to business and local government leaders about the strategy he said would cement Gladstone's status as an industrial powerhouse.
"What they can be assured of is that as a result of the Port Strategy, the Gladstone Port will be the preferred port for the export of coal and gas for the foreseeable future," he said.
Mr Roche also said the strategy will focus on developing the existing ports at Gladstone, Brisbane, Abbot Point, Townsville and Hay Point, therefore limiting impact on the environment.
"It's also good news for the environment and for the Great Barrier reef because what it means is that the state is going to focus its port development for the future on just five major ports," he said.
Mr Roche said the port developments would also be subject to tight environmental regulations.
"For the port expansion, likewise they have to go through rigorous environmental assessment processes," he said.
"The federal minister put 95 conditions on his approval at the dredging at Abbot Point, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority added another 47 conditions so this is a tightly regulated process for developing our ports."
But assurances the strategy would benefit the environment and reef offered little comfort to Gladstone Conservation Council's Cheryl Watson.
"These ports that they've already established they still need to have a healthy environment," she said.
"I cannot see how the proposed dredging ... for the Gladstone Harbour is environmentally friendly."