Green groups have today been accused of behaving irrationally and not having the Great Barrier Reef’s best interests at heart by the state’s peak mining body.
The comments come as several green groups have reportedly shown little support for the Queensland Government’s recent decision regarding disposal of dredge material from the proposed extension of the Abbot Point coal terminal.
On Tuesday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a new agreement that would see dredge spoil from the expansion dumped on land known as T2, adjacent to the existing coal terminal near Bowen, and not on the Caley Valley wetlands or within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The agreement was signed with proponents of the expansion, Adani and GVK Hancock. Both Adani and GVK Hancock have large coal projects planned for the Galilee Basin, west of the Port of Abbot Point and are planning to use the expanded port to export their product to offshore markets.
Head of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), Michael Roche said the irrational response from green groups revealed their underlying agenda.
“It is quite clear from the green groups’ responses to the Abbot Point announcement, that the Great Barrier Reef is not their number one priority,” Mr Roche said.
“The anti-coal movement’s number one priority is to shut down the coal industry and we have seen evidence of this after every decision that has been made regarding Abbot Point.
“The ENGOs (green groups) just keep changing the goal posts and now that concerns about the placement of dredge material have been addressed they have to come up with a new reason to keep their tax-deductible donations flowing in.”
Mr Roche said some within the green movement are calling for changes to the proposed expansion that would by far more detrimental to the environment.
“Extraordinarily, WWF campaigner Louise Mathieson is calling for the trestle to extend kilometres into the actual Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to negate the need for dredging,” Mr Roche said.
“Greenpeace, AMCS, WWF and the Greens have now moved the goal posts, questioning the need for the expansion at all.
“We support balancing industrial development and environmental protection and our ports and shipping operations operate under the highest standards in the world.
“Queenslanders across the state will benefit from this decision as the Galilee Basin mine-rail-port projects will create jobs and create economic development.”