An aerial view of Abbot Point’s Terminal 1 with its coal stockpile.
An aerial view of Abbot Point’s Terminal 1 with its coal stockpile. Contributed

Environmentalist: State Govt 'arrogant' over Abbot Point

AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner has slammed a State Government move to ask dredging companies for information on how they would complete the Abbot Point dredging project as "arrogant".

APN revealed yesterday the state took a request for information to the market two weeks before the dredging project documents were opened for public comment on the potential environmental impacts.

The Federal Government has already given the project the green light to be assessed without an environmental impact statement, but is yet to make a final decision to approve or reject it.

A request for information was released in mid-November, and the project went out for the shortest possible comment period of 10 days last Thursday.

But Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Felicity Wishart said the "undue haste" of both governments "wreaks of the same sort of fast-tracking behaviour we saw in Gladstone Harbour".

She said the state was sent a "resounding message" that dumping dredge spoil from the port expansion was not acceptable to the community, but the new proposal to dump spoil in the Caley Valley wetlands was no better.

Public documents about the proposal show it would likely destroy more than 100ha of the nationally significant wetlands, with the land to be later re-developed.

Ms Wishart said the lack of an EIS assessment for the new proposal, and fast-tracking of the project meant it was not being properly scrutinised.

But Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the request for information did not constitute a tender, but that the process needed to get under way to start in March.

He said issuing RFI to the public market would give the government the "greatest chance of having the project ready" in time for the proposed start date.