Protesters call for reversal of Abbot Pt expansion

MORE than 1500km from the Great Barrier Reef, a small group of passionate protestors took their concerns about coal ports to the Parliament in Canberra on Monday.

While the "Canberra residents" group was small, they had the backing of Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who stood with them calling for Environment Minister Tony Burke to reverse his approval of the Abbot Point expansion in Central Queensland.

Mr Burke approved the Alpha Coal port expansion earlier this month, and was unlikely to reverse the decision after applying numerous restrictions which he said would help protect the reef.

But protest spokeswoman Linsey Cole said it was clear he did not want to abide by the World Heritage Council's concerns that more expansions near the reef could threaten its future.

Mr Burke previously has said the approval was within the UNESCO committee's recommendations not to create any new port areas.

He said he "didn't think the protestors realise there is already a massive stockpile of coal and an operating coal port at Abbot Point", and if they were looking for pristine areas, this was not it.

But Ms Cole said although the protestors did not live near the reef, they knew the expansion of the existing port could risk yet more damage to the reef for future generations.

She said the approval passed through without any resistance partly due to the lack of media coverage of the issue, with much attention on "other issues" at the time.

Senator Waters agreed, but said the lack of any opposition from the Coalition also contributed to the approval not creating many headlines.

She said the last thing the reef needed was to be treated like a dumping ground for dredge spoil or a coal export "super-highway".

Senator Waters said the approval showed the government was not prepared to stop approving new developments near the reef while the cumulative effects of existing approvals were assessed.

A strategic assessment of the existing approvals was already under way, but unlikely to be completed before the end of 2013.

Topics:  abbot point coal ports protest

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Next generation of yogis learn in the Lockyer

TUNING IN: Sarah Weber runs her kids yoga class once a week, each term from her Cura Life Studio in Gatton.

Yoga teacher Sarah Weber shares the benefits of starting yoga early.

All's Wells for Madi after third national silver medal

RISING STAR: Lockyer District Athletic Club's Madison Wells celebrates her latest silver medal success with mum Sharyn and dad Lee in Melbourne.

Madison Wells won silver at the Australian Multi-events titles.

Bid on hot cross buns to help raise funds

GOING HOT: The Old Fernvale Bakery aim to raise $40,000 for the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital by donating $1 from every pack of hot cross buns sold. Pictured here are Lyn and Bill Rose with the latest hot cross bun creation, cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate.

Help the Old Fernvale bakery get over the line.

Local Partners