The Abbot Point Expansion.

I present information here in the form of various articles published over the last few years regarding the expansion of Abbot Point for coal export.  In the spirit of fairness I offer articles from both main stream media and Alternative News Outlets.  The articles are listed in chronological order so you can get a clear picture of events and opinions.

Related Topic:  The Adani Project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin

You be the judge.

Does the profit gained outweigh the consequences reaped?

iMINCO – 25,000 new jobs for Galilee Basin coal mines and Abbot Point port expansion – The Galilee Basin is set to create 25,000 new jobs with new mines being developed by Hancock Coal, Waratah Coal, Adani, and several other companies – and a major expansion of the Abbot Point export terminal and associated infrastructure.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific – Abbot Point Dredging – Who’s really to blame? You can bet that the multi-national coal companies behind the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port have been lobbying hard to get their way.

Sydney Morning Herald 29 October 2013 – Reef board members linked to mining.  Two board members of the body that protects the Great Barrier Reef reportedly have substantial mining interests and links to corrupt former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid.

Brisbane Times 10 December 2013 – Abbot Point coal terminal reef dredging project approved It’s the controversial decision that miners say will revive the resources industry and has environmentalists predicting irreparable damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

MacKay Conservation Group February 2014 – Abbot Point – a disaster in the making 9 reasons why the expansion of Abbot Point Coal Port would be a disaster

ABC News 12 June 2014 – UNESCO condemns Federal Government’s approval of dredge spoil near Great Barrier Reef World heritage body UNESCO has outlined its concerns over a decision to dispose of dredge spoil near the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland.

Australian Mining 4 March 2014 – Greenpeace share FOI documents on Great Barrier Reef coal port dredging at Abbot Point.  Greenpeace have shared FOI documents which reveal that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Protection Authority (GBRMPA) advised minister Greg Hunt not to approve dredging for the Abbott Point coal port expansion

ABC News 13 June 2014 – Great Barrier Reef health: Reports shows UNESCO requests met, Queensland  Government says The State Government says the findings of its report card on the reef’s health will quash the concerns of the world heritage body UNESCO.

ABC News 19 June 2014 –  UNESCO ruling: Decision on whether Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ deferred for a year “Based purely on the evidence referenced by the experts, it is clear that the integrity of the site is at risk.  We would wish to encourage the State Party [Australia] to urgently review its recent decisions regarding development projects.”

ABC Four Corners 18 August 2014 – Battle for the Reef  -45 minute video.  The decision to dump dredge spoil has to be a political decision.  It is not supported by science at all.

ABC News 8 September 2014 – Abbot Point dredging: Spoil to be dumped on land, not in Great Barrier Reef waters The Queensland Government has endorsed a new plan to dump dredge spoil from the Abbot Point port expansion near Bowen on land, rather than inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Australian Business Review 28 October 2014 – US banks baulk at Abbot Point coal port expansion Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises has hired Morgan Stanley to sell part of its stake in the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, even as the bank has expressed concerns about the environmental impact of the port’s proposed expansion.

ABC News 19 November 2014 – Great Barrier Reef still facing significant threats, assessment for World Heritage Committee shows The United Nations’ World Heritage Committee is concerned about the Abbot Point port expansion and the plan to dump of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil within the marine park.

The Guardian 14 January 2015 – Federal court asked to overturn Adani mine approval due to impact on Great Barrier Reef.  Conservation group argues Greg Hunt did not take into account the impact on the reef of greenhouse gases emitted when burning coal from Queensland’s Carmichael mine

The Saturday Paper 24 January 2014 – Abbot Point and Barrier Reef loom large in Qld election No matter who takes a majority in the Queensland legislative council in next Saturday’s state poll, the battle for the reef looks set to go on.

The Guardian 16 January 2015 – Queensland taxpayers subsidised Abbot Point coal port expansion by up to $2bn While the environmental risks of the Abbot Point port expansion have been widely reported, the economic impacts have been overlooked, according to the Australia Institute.

Queensland Government website – Expanding the Port of Abbot Point The Queensland Government is committed to expanding the Port of Abbot Point in a responsible and sustainable manner.  The government is proposing to place dredged material from the expansion on unallocated industrial land, next to the existing operational coal terminal.

Queensland Government website – Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project.  Involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres in situ of seabed. Adani’s proposed dredging area is approximately 61 hectares of seabed within port limits, outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

ABC News 12 March 2015 – Abbot Point expansion: Approvals process rebooted in plan to preserve wetlands from dredge spoil The Queensland Government is restarting the approvals process for expanding the Abbot Point coal terminal in north Queensland in a bid to keep dredge spoil away from both the Great Barrier Reef and nearby wetlands.

IA Independent Australia 13 March 2015 – Reef in Peril as new QLD Government waves through Abbot Point expansion The new Queensland Government has approved the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port, smoothing the way for the massive expansion of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, and increasing the risk of runaway climate change and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Conversation 17 March 2015 – Dumping Abbot Point dredge spoil on land won’t save the reef  Queensland Labor’s new plan to dump Abbot Point dredge spoil on land announced last week, and not at sea or in sensitive wetlands as under previous proposals, is a welcome one, but it will do little to stem the flow of damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

Mackay Conservation Group 23 March 2015 – New proposal for dredge spoil dumping at Abbot Point – before rushing ahead with expanding Abbot Point, dredging the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and increasing light, noise, dust and industrial pollution in a sensitive coastal ecosystem, we want the Queensland government to answer these questions:

Sydney Morning Herald 3 April 2015 – GVK Hancock Coal faces great barriers in building Abbot Point reef port The mining companies say new infrastructure will boost exports. Environmentalists say a rise in coal shipments from the area will release more carbon into the atmosphere and damage coral that is already at risk from climate change. Australia exports about a million tons of coal a day.

Courier Mail 16 April 2015 – Adani’s Carmichael coal mine a step closer The first of more than 4000 jobs and $7 billion in investment will begin flowing to Queensland within months when Indian Company Adani starts construction on the Carmichael megamine in Central Queensland.

ABC News 18 April 2015 – Abbot Point coal terminal expansion plan sent to Federal Government The expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in north Queensland is a step closer, with the latest dredging plans sent to the Federal Government for approval.

Fight For The Reef 5 May 2015 – QLD Government should heed market outlook and end support for unecessary Abbot Point expansion that will harm the Reef A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis released today finds Adani’s Carmichael mine proposal is likely to become a stranded asset due to the company’s own restructuring and changes in the global coal market.

EDO Qld 7 May 2015 – Case Update: Abbot Point Dredging – This case is a direct challenge by the Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) to the approval and conditions Minister Hunt placed on the controversial dredging at Abbot Point.

Sydney Morning Herald 11 May 2105 – Abbott government spends $100,000 on travel to lobby against UNESCO reef listing The figure was revealed in a Senate estimates hearing on Monday after questions from the Greens. The government has mounted a massive international effort to avoid UNESCO’s world heritage committee listing the reef as officially in danger next month. That has included establishing a dedicated taskforce within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and travelling to each of the 21 countries on the committee.

Daily Mercury 19 May 2015 – 120 jobs to come as Abbot Pt expansion begins Studies for an environmental impact statement (EIS) will begin today for the proposed expansion of Queensland’s major coal export facility, Abbot Point near Bowen.

Whitsunday Times 27 May 2015 – Abbot Point environment impact study currently under way.  There’s no question about it, Queensland can have this vital port infrastructure and a vibrant Great Barrier Reef – the findings of the EIS will show us the best way to achieve this.”  Dr Lynham also pointed out the EIS would not come out of taxpayers’ pocket.  “The full cost of the EIS will be paid for by mine proponent Adani, not taxpayers,” he said.

Eco News 29 May 2015 –UNESCO keeps Barrier Reef off ‘ in danger’ list.  In a significant step for Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government the United Nations conservation agency UNESCO has recommended the Australia’s World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef not be placed on the “in danger” list.

The Age, Environment 30 May 2015 – UNESCO heritage experts decide not to list Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’  World heritage experts have decided not to officially list the Great Barrier Reef as being ‘in danger’, but warned Australia it still has more to do to stop continuing damage to this natural wonder.

Sydney Morning Herald 30 May 2015 – The battle over the Great Barrier Reef looks won, but the bigger war goes on Part of the Abbott government’s motivation for its massive diplomatic push to stop any listing was concern about the boost it would give environmentalists in their campaign against the mines, and in particular in stopping banks investing in the projects.

Echo Daily – 1 June 2015 – Abbot Point ‘must be stopped’: Greens Following the release of the World Heritage Committee’s draft decision to keep the Great Barrier Reef on the ‘In Danger’ watch list, The Greens say the Abbott and Palaszczuk governments ‘must abandon their plan to turn the Reef into a coal and LNG super highway’.

The Australian 3 June 2015 – Qld to ban new Great Barrier Reef ports. Queensland will ban all new Great Barrier Reef ports under some of the “toughest laws in the world”.   Instead all port development will be concentrated in four priority ports – Gladstone, Hay Point/Mackay, Abbot Point and Townsville.

 So what conclusion do I draw from all these articles?

Firstly I would like to note that if not for the environmental groups that stood against this plan right from the beginning QLD would most assuredly become home to one of the largest ‘coal operations’ in the world and custodians of a reef destroyed by the thoughtlessness of politics and big business.

Thanks to these environmental groups the Abbot Point development has been forced to make changes to the original plan on multiple occasions.

Reference is often made to the destruction of the Reef due to climate changes involving the increased frequency and intensity of storms, ocean acidification and warming seas.   It’s as if Mining and Government have latched on to this to rationalize their plans for further destruction.  “Well it’s going to die anyway, why don’t we just suck all the profit out while we can”!

I am suspicious about any Environmental Impact Study that is financed by the organisation whos impact has necessitated a study be done.

I used to have faith that our government acted in accordance with the will of the people.  I used to believe that our governments made decisions that were in the best interests of our country.  Alas, I have come to realise that our government, and so by default, our country is for sale to whoever pays the biggest price.

I note that many important issues are deliberately downplayed in the main stream media or they are presented as a beacon of hope for the masses in support of the government agenda. Scientific opinion that does not support the argument is ignored while those who have a vested interest are promoted.

As the price of coal plummets our government(s) are scrambling to honor backroom deals made years ago.  That rather than turn to the soaring industry of renewables our politicians are clinging to a dying industry that in its death throes is baring its teeth.

That due to corruption at all levels of government and the apathy of the general public this nation, its lands and its resources are being siphoned off to foreign interests.  The revolving door policy between government and big business is proof positive that these politicians will bat for whoever offers the most.

For years now 12 governments and multinational corporations have been formulating a trade agreement that will come down on the side of big business.  Stopping of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is crucial if we as a sovereign nation want to retain the right to pass environmental protective legislation.  The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause that is purportedly contained within the TPP will enable international companies to sue a country that passes environmental protection laws that conflict with company interests.

The battle against the coal and gas mining giants is a global one and they are getting hurt by protector groups whose ranks are swelling.  We live in an age where alternative forms of energy are becoming commercially viable.  The more money that is moved out of coal and gas and into renewables the faster the changeover will occur.

Whether you believe the earth changes that are taking place are man made or not is beside the point.  They are occurring and as the dominant species on the planet we have a responsibility as earths custodians to take care of her. For far too long our society has turned a blind eye to the ugly side of our civilization but the time has come where ignorance is no excuse and the sins of our technology and consumerism need to be exposed and eliminated.

 

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Related Topic:  The Adani Project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin