GREAN calls on government to act on port recommendations
GLADSTONE Region Environmental Advisory Network is calling on the Federal Government to take on board the 23 recommendations from the independent review on the Port of Gladstone.
The 124-page review found the environmental management and governance of the port "generally comprehensible" but included key areas for continued improvement, including community consultation.
Gladstone Ports Corporation welcomed the findings and committed to ensuring the environmental impacts on the harbour continued to be mitigated.
GPC chief Leo Zussino said the current Western Basin Dredging and Disposal project had successfully met all of its environmental conditions.
"We commit to the Gladstone community to continue to take every action to mitigate our impacts on the environs of Gladstone harbour whilst developing a world class commercial harbour," he said.
Although the report found GPC's 50 Year Strategic Plan was not adequate under the Federal Environment act, Mr Zussino said the plan was a high-level document that provided the community and stakeholders with an overview of the port's vision and intention for the future, stating that it was an evolving document that was updated regularly.
He also called on the Federal Government to undertake a full strategic assessment for the Port of Gladstone under the National Ports Strategy, a project GPC has been working on with Infrastructure Australia.
GREAN chair Col Chapman found the report "fairly comprehensive" and said it addressed most of the issues in GREAN's submission.
"It's necessary the government takes most of these recommendations on board otherwise the Great Barrier Reef could lose its status as a world heritage area and impact on the environment," he said.
It was also important that Environmental Impact Statements considered the cumulative impacts, he said; taking into account the impact of other projects happening at the same time or in the same area.
But Mr Chapman said most importantly, community involvement during the planning stages of projects would ensure better outcomes.
"The general community would be less confused and they'd put more trust in what comes out of the government, business and industry organisations," he said.
Mr Zussino said the GPC was committed to ensuring the public consultation process was effective and engaging, "however there will always be a small section of the community who will oppose the activities of the port," he said.