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New dredging strategy explained at port of Abbot Point expansion rally

Port of Abbot PointAround 600 people congregated at the Bowen Showgrounds on Wednesday evening to show their support for the coal industry and the proposed expansion of the port of Abbot Point.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney attended the rally and explained to the crowd how the Abbot Point Beneficial Reuse Strategy would hopefully address some of the environmental concerns of green groups.

The strategy proposes to use dredge material from the port development on land, rather than conventional sea-based disposal methods.

Under the strategy, dredge material will be placed on existing state land to the west of current port facilities, to lay the groundwork for future expansion. Existing man-made wetlands to the south will be enhanced by the creation of a habitat three times the size of the current wetlands.

“We aim to create a port facility that will serve Queensland industry for the next century and, at the same time, triple the area of existing freshwater wetland to support local flora and fauna,” Mr Seeney said.

“The State Government has appointed experienced project manager, Michael Schaumburg, to oversee this development, with work set to commence as soon as possible should Federal Government approval be granted.”

Mr Seeney said the Abbot Point Beneficial Reuse Strategy would be carried out in stages and consist of a series of enhanced land areas, linked to a low-impact single rail line development and sedimentation ponds to return seawater to marine wetlands.

“We are determined to make the right, long-term planning decisions for this port now, in the same way planning for the successful Port of Brisbane began decades ago,” he said.

“I look forward to working with Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell and Commonwealth Minister Greg Hunt to implement this strategy in time for the commencement of dredging in March 2015.”

The expansion of the port of Abbot Point is vital to the viability of several coal mines proposed to be built in the Galilee Basin, several hundred kilometres west of the port.

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