Industry News

Environmental Study of Australian Dredge Project Digs Up Skeptics

Cynicism surrounds dredging company Ports North’s request for a six-month extension to perform further wet season studies in its Cairns Port dredging environmental impact study.

The Cairns Post revealed the study’s due date had been stretched out from June 30 to December 31 with minimal public notification. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre president Denis Walls said the cause was simple and obvious – there was never going to be enough time to have it completed by the original deadline.

“It was clear they weren’t going to meet their deadlines because of the fact they don’t have a place to dump the dredge spoils,” he said. Mr Walls said two dump sites had been considered – East Trinity, which taxpayers have already spent millions of dollars rehabilitating, and the Barron Delta voids.

“It was clear those studies hadn’t been done,” Mr Walls said. “To suggest the delay is an electoral ploy is preposterous. I don’t see any political advantage.”

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch disagreed.

“You have to ask the question – are there genuine reasons for the delays? Does Ports North not have the capacity to complete this task in the time frames set?” he asked. “Or is this just playing the politics and complying with the State Labor Government’s agenda? Either way, it is not in the best interests of the community.”

Opposition state development spokeswoman Deb Frecklington argued the delay was an effort to stop the study being released until after the next state election.

“At the end of the day, this is all about shoring up inner-city green votes,” she said.

The Department of State Development issued a statement saying the study’s deadline extension did “not require public notification other than updating project information on the department’s website.”

For more information, visit Queensland Government and Ports North.

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