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Environment Minister to visit Abbot Point as decision on approval looms

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Environment Minister to visit Abbot Point as decision on approval looms

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt will visit Abbot Point coal terminal today as the decision to approve or reject its proposed expansion draws closer.

Hunt last week delayed making a decision on the project until December 13, stating more time was needed to assess its potential impacts.

Hunt is expected to meet with the fishing industry, tourism operators and business representatives during his tour.

The $6.2 billion expansion of the coal port would see four additional coal terminals built; which would provide an extra annual capacity of 120 million tonnes and would support the developments in the Bowen, Surat, and Galilee Basins of Queensland.

Combined with other port expansions, this latest development would make Abbot Point one of the world’s largest coal ports, boasting seven terminals and a capacity of almost 300 million tonnes annually.

There is strong support from Bowen locals who want to see the expansion go ahead with more than 600 hundred people attending a rally in July urging the Federal Government to back the project.

However environmental activists are calling on the expansion to be dumped with concerns that dredging at the site will have widespread impacts.

WWF Australia spokesman Richard Leck said the government would have no choice but to dismiss the proposal, The Chronicle reported.

"Once all impacts are fully considered, we believe the government will have little choice but to eventually reject this application for Abbot Point and rule out Reef dumping altogether,” Leck said.

While Greens Senator Larissa Waters has also called on the government to reject the project.

"There's a proposal for three million cubic metres of dredging in the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area and then dumping that sea bed right back into marine park waters,” Waters said.

"The sediment doesn't sit where it's placed, it can move."


 

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