Investors 'getting nervous' about Abbot Pt expansion

INVESTORS are "getting nervous" amid unrelenting controversy surrounding Abbot Point's expansion.

Member for Dawson George Christensen has warned the project could fall over due to "current green campaigns" being run against it.

His comments follow a Senate estimates committee hearing during which the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority expressed concerns dredge spoil plumes from large port developments were likely to have a wider-reaching impact than previously thought.

The proposal currently before Environment Minister Tony Burke calls for about three million cubic metres of dredge spoil to be dumped in waters off Bowen as part of the expansion.

Mr Burke has until July 9 to approve conditions relating to the expansion, however, he is able to request more time.

Despite having once opposed dredge spoil being dumped at sea, Mr Christensen said it was vital the project went ahead so the Bowen community could reap the benefits.

"(Investors) are looking for surety - they don't know if it's going to be approved in the current climate," Mr Christensen said. "The Bowen community has reacted pretty sharply to this green campaign against the Abbot Point ... expansion."

Mr Christensen said a petition calling for Mr Burke to give the project the final tick was being circulated among Bowen businesses and had received overwhelming support.

But Mackay Reef Fish Supplies owner David Caracciolo said local fishermen had always held concerns about what impact planned dredging projects at Dudgeon Point and Abbot Point would have on the region's fish stocks.

"To date no one has been able to tell us how far it will travel or where it would end up," Mr Caracciolo said.

Greens candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj called on Mr Burke to put a halt to the project until more research on dredge spoil plumes was completed.

"If it's worse than we thought and what industry has been telling us I have concerns for fishing and tourism," Mr Dykyj said.



FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke will make a decision on dredging at Abbot Point based on the "latest and best possible scientific advice".

The Department of Environment is currently assessing the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation Limited Abbot Point Terminal 0, 2 and 3 dredging and disposal proposal in co-operation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Mr Burke approved part of the Abbot Point expansion in October last year, but is yet to give final approval to associated dredging.

"Once the assessment process is complete, the proposal will come to me for consideration," Mr Burke said.

"The ... process takes into account expert scientific advice and public comments."

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