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Turning of first sod for LNG shows contempt for social licence

Curtis Island

The turning of the first sod of soil for Santos’ LNG plant on Curtis Island this morning indicates that the gas companies are ignoring Federal Minister Martin Ferguson’s call for a social licence.

‘This industry’s impacts have triggered immense community concern but it seems that they are going to charge ahead irrespective of community opposition,’ Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said today.

‘We would have liked to see them take some time out from their rush to rip it up and ship it out so that the people of Queensland could debate where this industry can safely operate with minimal impact.

‘They have no social licence from the people of Gladstone who are already feeling the negative effects of housing shortages and rising rents.

‘While the big multinational corporations get excited about the huge profit-fall coming their way, ordinary Queenslanders end up on the wrong side of the two-speed economy with rising prices, housing shortages, fewer tourist visitors due to the high Australian dollar and health impacts that are yet to be fully understood.

‘The commencement of gas development on Curtis Island is the commencement of marine habitat destruction to match that of the land-based habitat harm caused by pipelines, wells and compressor stations.

‘The gas companies are going to dredge The Narrows, an immensely important marine habitat between the mainland and Curtis Island.

‘It is home to loggerhead turtles, dugong, snubfin dolphins and estuarine crocodiles. This region including Curtis Island is also essential for a range of migratory birds.

‘The companies are going to displace so much of the seabed that 50 million cubic metres of spoil will end up forming an artificial mountain on the mainland to deal with it.

‘This development rush has happened so fast that the people of Gladstone and of Queensland have not had time to debate its benefits and its long-term harm sufficiently.

‘It is time for a moratorium so the people of Queensland can consider some planning limits before further economic and environmental harm is irreparable.’

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