LNG developments in Gladstone harbour a threat to world heritage values

Published: August 05, 2011

The Queensland and federal governments have been embarrassed by a UNESCO report expressing 'extreme concern' about liquid natural gas developments on Curtis Island and in Gladstone harbour.

UNESCO indicated they considered these a potential threat to the world heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef since the harbour is part of this world heritage area and it called for a comprehensive strategic assessment of the reef, including a long-term plan for sustainable development.

This has not occurred in Australia since the late nineties when UNESCO raised threats to the world heritage values of Kakadu after several damaging toxic spills from the nearby Ranger uranium mine.

President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, said the UN was far more sensitive to the threats and showed far higher concern than the Bligh government which cared only about the royalties that would come its way from coal and coal seam gas developments.

"The CSG/LNG companies have bulldozed the south-western quarter of Curtis Island and removed every mangrove," Mr Hutton said.

"They are currently dredging millions of tonnes of spoil from the harbour, ripping apart sea grass beds as they go.

"Consequently, the water is muddied and marine wildlife is disappearing.

"The only dugongs and Indo-Pacific dolphins seen in the harbour in recent times have been washed up dead. We have also seen over dead turtles in the area."

Mr Hutton said the Bligh government simply tried to spin their way out of these events blaming them on the floods, boat strike or some other unlikely cause.

"The reality of Gladstone is that its beautiful harbour is being sacrificed to the building of four LNG plants on Curtis Island, the dredging of the harbour and the massive expansion of coal facilities while other parts of the region such as Balaclava Island will also soon suffer the same fate.

"Undoubtedly, the Bligh government will send someone to a UNESCO meeting in Paris to assure them that they have everything in hand but what is happening in Gladstone harbour and in the region generally is an environmental crime."


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