Abbot Point
Abbot Point Contributed

Court adjourns dredge spoil dispute

THE Mackay Conservation Group has had a minor win in court in its challenge opposing the controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.

The group has taken Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to court over the government's decision to allow dredge spoil from the project to be dumped offshore near the Great Barrier Reef.

Further to the Federal Government decision, last month the Queensland Government unveiled a plan to dump dredge spoil from the project onshore.

North Queensland Bulk Ports, GVK Hancock and Adani Group have approval to dump three million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the marine park's boundary under the initial Federal Government plan.

Dredging is set to start in March next year.

However, Mr Hunt needs to approve the Queensland plan before it is given the green light.

Mr Hunt's department this week released a document saying the Queensland Government proposal would be assessed on preliminary documentation rather than a separate Environmental Impact Statement.

Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Ellen Roberts said on Friday the Brisbane Federal Court had decided to adjourn the group's matter to a date to be fixed.

She said the offshore court case had been put on hold until the onshore issue had been dealt with.

"The Queensland Government now plans to dredge and dump spoil into a fragile wetland environment at Abbot Point, which is rich in wildlife and crucial to the health of the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

"Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has cobbled together a last-minute plan for Abbot Point in the hope of getting the project started next year.

"He is trying to sidestep this court case and World Heritage Committee concerns by shifting the damage onshore."

The United Nations World Heritage Committee is due to decide early next year whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage site "in danger".

Representatives for Mr Hunt and Mr Seeney said it would be inappropriate to make a comment while the matter was before the courts.