Flawed modelling used to predict how far Abbot Point dredge spoil would travel

According to media reports late yesterday, documents released under FOI show the Australian Institute of Marine Science raised concerns about the inadequacy of modelling to measure how far dredge spoil dumped in the Great Barrier Reef for the Abbot Point coal port would travel.

“It appears the government’s own marine research agency was warning back in June last year that the proponent’s modelling on how far the dredge spoil would travel was inadequate,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“It’s incredibly alarming that all of this dumping in the Reef has been approved without accurate modelling to measure how far it will travel, factoring in the impacts of wind, tides and ocean currents.

“We’re talking about the Great Barrier Reef here – you can’t just dump 5 million tonnes of dredge sludge into this World Heritage Area without even knowing where it will end up.

“The Abbott Government should revoke the approval of the Abbot Point coal port immediately and require the proponent to provide accurate modelling that shows how far the dredge spoil will really travel,” Senator Waters said.

Queensland Greens candidate for Stafford, Anne Boccabella, said: “More than 60 000 Queenslanders rely on the Reef’s health for their job and yet the Abbott and Newman governments have ticked off on dredge spoil dumping without even knowing how far the sludge will travel.

“Queenslanders love our Great Barrier Reef and we won’t stand by and let it be treated as a dump ground for the big mining companies, and the people of Stafford can send that message to the government at the upcoming by-election,” Ms Boccabella said.

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