The Guardian, By: Bridie Jabour, 02/06/2014
The authority chairman, Dr Russell Reichelt, said he recognised the amount of debate and community concern the project had generated and shared with everyone a strong desire to ensure the reef remained a great natural wonder into the future. “This approval is in line with the agency’s view that port development along the Great Barrier Reef coastline should be limited to existing ports,” Reichelt said. “As a deepwater port that has been in operation for nearly 30 years, Abbot Point is better placed than other ports along the Great Barrier Reef coastline to undertake expansion as the capital and maintenance dredging required will be significantly less than what would be required in other areas. “It’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds.” North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation had applied to dump within the Great Barrier Reef marine park and, although the authority was asked to make a decision within 10 days of the environment minister, Greg Hunt, approving the project in December, it asked for an extension. North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation is also expected to come up with an alternative site that is also expected to be within the marine park.
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