IN SPOTLIGHT: An aerial view of South End and Facing Island.
IN SPOTLIGHT: An aerial view of South End and Facing Island. Brenda Strong

Port master plan map change sparks conservation fears

MAPS showing the proposed Gladstone Port master plan indicate the environmentally protected southern tip of Curtis Island has been brought into the Gladstone State Development Scheme.

That has sparked fears the area's conservation won't be protected.

Public consultation began this month on the Port of Gladstone master plan, developed as part of the State Government's Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.

Curtis Island resident Cheryl Watson, who is also a member of the Gladstone Conservation Council, fears the new maps, with a significantly altered boundary from the last approved map in 2010, show a land grab.

Ms Watson is worried the changed boundaries mean the area can now be developed, but the government says those concerns are unfounded.

The maps show the port lands and State Development Area stretching into the southern tip of Curtis Island, overlapping what was previously set aside as a protected Environmental Management Area.

"They called it an environmental management precinct and said it would be protected," Ms Watson said.

"They told us it wouldn't be built on. Now it looks like they have brought that land into the development area (GSDA). It comes down to accountability and trust."

But the government claims the master plan represents no increase to the State Development Area on Curtis Island. A representative for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the southern tip of Curtis Island "remains in the environmental management precinct".

However, Ms Watson is sceptical. She can not understand why the area has been brought into the port master plan and why it isn't labelled as an environmental management area. The Department of Environment did not respond before deadline.

In 2014 proposed changes to boundaries within the GSDA were put out to public consultation. The consultation period closed in March last year, but the changes are yet to be approved.

Mr Lynham's representative confirmed the newest proposed border is in line with those changes proposed in 2014.

Submissions can be made on the new master plan until July 20.

See http://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/sustainableports to make a submission.



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