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Stop blaming the floods for dead marine life in Gladstone

The Queensland Greens expressed scepticism today about the state government’s claim that the summer floods were to blame for the rising death toll of marine life in Gladstone harbour.

Since April 40 turtles, 3 dolphin and 4 dugong have washed up dead on the shores of the harbour.

Spokesperson Libby Connors said she went to Gladstone earlier in July to witness for herself the destruction being caused by the LNG plant construction on Curtis Island and by massive harbour dredging for port developments.

‘You cannot remove 55 million cubic metres from the floor of the harbour and then claim the seagrass beds are dying from pollution from the floods.

‘It was the height of irresponsibility for the Queensland Government to give approval to the port developments after they had declared the region a dugong sanctuary in 2002.

‘The Minister for the Environment knows how important these shallow waters are for a range of marine life officially listed as endangered or as vulnerable such as turtles, dolphins and dugong.

‘The noise caused by land reclamation and port facilities, the disturbance of soil and vegetation on the Curtis Island foreshores and the active dredging in the shallows not far from Witt Island where the dugong washed ashore are all immediate threats.

‘The people of Queensland need to know that it is not only good quality agricultural soils and inland waters that are at risk from inappropriate coal mining and coal seam gas development.

‘Our precious marine environments in Gladstone, Mackay and Bowen are also to be sacrificed to the port expansions required for these massive export industries.

‘I call on the new Minister for the Environment to say enough is enough and to add her voice to the community’s call for a moratorium so all risks associated with the expanding coal and gas sectors can be adequately assessed including the massive port expansions.’

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