A framework for the sustainable dredging of Queensland ports has been released, aiming to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is protected.
Queensland Ports Minister, Mark Bailey, and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Steven Miles released the Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports, as part of the government’s Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
“The Palaszczuk Government is focused on protecting the reef for the future while ensuring the continued operating efficiency of our ports within the World Heritage Area,” Mr Bailey said.
“The strategy is an important action that demonstrates our focus on maintaining and improving the Great Barrier Reef’s Outstanding Universal Value.”
Dr Miles said the strategy stood alongside the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, and the delivery of many other commitments under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
“It requires ports in the Great Barrier Reef to consult with stakeholders to develop long-term management plans based on a sound knowledge of the environment in which ports operate,” Dr Miles said.
“Management and monitoring measures will ensure maintenance dredging continues in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
Mr Bailey said the strategy supported and complemented existing laws and guidelines, making the framework and practices applying to maintenance dredging clear.
“This will bring further improvements in the way ports undertake the vital maintenance of channels, berths and basins and will require increased consultation with stakeholders,” Mr Bailey said.
“We are improving transparency and consistency in the way ports select management options, and undertake maintenance dredging.”
Dr Miles said the framework improved levels of consultation, monitoring and reporting to ensure Queensland’s valuable environmental assets are offered the best protection through a risk management approach.
“The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is working with port authorities and the Department of Transport and Main Roads to ensure that all new and existing environmental authorities will comply with the strategy,” Dr Miles said.
“Delivering the maintenance dredging strategy is another achievement of the Palaszczuk Government, demonstrating our commitment to reef protection ahead of the progress report to the UNESCO Heritage Centre due tomorrow”.
The strategy was developed with feedback from industry groups, Queensland and Australian Government regulators, environmental groups and scientific experts.