ABC TV - Four Corners - 7.11.2011
In this report, Marian Wilkinson travels to Queensland to assess claims that at least six major port developments – either being planned or currently underway – could potentially put the Great Barrier Reef in jeopardy and destroy industries, like fishing, that rely on their proximity to it.
Coal seam gas is a massive undertaking. It’s estimated there are now close to 4,000 wells in Queensland. That number will grow tenfold over the next 20 years. The plan is to take a lot of that gas to Curtis Island, off Gladstone in the World Heritage Area, where it will be processed and exported.
To service the huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers and expand its coal loading capacity, Gladstone Ports Corporation is now undertaking the biggest dredging operation ever attempted inshore from the Great Barrier Reef.
Part of the spoil dredged up will be taken out to sea to a dump site within one kilometre of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Marian Wilkinson speaks to local fishermen who believe the dredging is responsible for a startling outbreak of fish disease in the Harbour waters. And she questions Government officials who say the water is fine and the disease is a result of natural causes.
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