Submissions on failed bund wall released
CLAIMS of a series of problems in the environmental management of a dredging project in Gladstone harbour have been made in submissions to a panel reviewing the failure of a bund wall.
The submissions to the bund wall review panel were released on Monday; almost two months after Environment Minister Greg Hunt first announced the review.
Some 15 submissions have been released, including from Gladstone Ports Corporation, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association, independent scientists and the Gladstone Conservation Council.
The vast majority of the submissions have detailed a series of alleged failures in the ports' management of the dredging project, including omitting data and reports from a series of investigations into a fish disease outbreak in 2011.
But several submitters, including aquatic scientist Dr Ben Diggles, have confirmed the review panel has not yet approached them for an interview, a month on from the due date for submissions.
Dr Diggles said that a key problem was that the port did not provide vital information to previous state and federal government inquiries.
"Therefore any outcomes from those reviews will not take into account all the information; anything released before September last year needs to be looked at again," he said.
"They treated the scientists on the previous fish health investigations like mushrooms."
The QSIA also called for a "full all-encompassing investigation and review of all port development and the GPC (to) be undertaken and that such inquiry must be of a level to provide privilege and protection".
However, the ports corporation defended its record, arguing the bund wall was "always designed to be porous" and that when issues arose during construction, "expert advice was sought" and acted on.
The port submission also said that when "higher turbidity readings" were detected in September 2011, those studies also found the bund wall "did not fully restrict the sediment transport through all sections of the wall".
Its submission again claimed that dredging was not the cause of fish health issues experienced in 2011, and that "key stakeholders were kept informed", despite claims from others of omission of vital information.
Mr Hunt has given the bund wall review panel until the end of April to report its findings.Review panel submissions received from:
Gladstone Ports Corporation
Gladstone Conservation Council
Capricorn Conservation Council
Queensland Seafood Industry Association
Natural Resource Assessments
WWF Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society
Six other un-named "individuals"