A controversial dredging project near the Great Barrier Reef has been given the green light.
However Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the dredging of three million cubic metres of seabed at the Port of Abbot Point will be subject to “some of the strictest conditions” in Australian history.
The conditions include a “150 per cent” net benefit requirement for water quality to reduce fine sediments entering the Marine Park from land-based sources, and measures to protect marine species and their habitats.
The health of the Great Barrier Reef will also be improved through an $89 million contribution to programs such as the Reef Trust, Mr Hunt said.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s great natural wonders and protecting it for the future is vital,” he said in a statement.
Mr Hunt has approved dredging for Abbot Point terminals 0, 2 and 3 which will see up to three million cubic metres of spoil dumped offshore.
But he says he’s advised the state government that spoil for future dredging projects in Central and North Queensland should be disposed of on the shoreline or near it, or by way of land reclamation.
“This is a significant step towards improving and protecting the Marine Park for future generations,” he said.
Mr Hunt has also approved construction of the Adani-owned terminal 0, a coal export facility which includes a 2.75km outloading jetty and conveyor, new wharves, ship loaders and berths for two capesize vessels.