Australia Bans Dumping Dredge Spoil into Great Barrier Reef
Australia has formally approved a set of regulations to ban the disposal of capital dredge material in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the country’s Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said.
The amendment to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations applies to all past and present permits and future applications for capital dredge disposal.
There will be zero capital dredge disposal in the entire 344,400 square kilometre Marine Park – this covers 100 per cent of the area under Commonwealth legislative control and 99 per cent of the World Heritage Area, according to Minister Hunt.
The ban will be complemented by the Queensland Government’s commitment to also ban the practice in the remaining 3,000 square kilometre area that includes port areas, and falls outside of the Marine Park under Commonwealth control.
The ban on capital dredge disposal in the Marine Park follows the release of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, which will help to directly address threats to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reef 2050 Plan charts the way forward for investment in Reef protection, which will amount to more than AUD 2 billion over the coming decade by the Australian and Queensland governments, said Hunt.
Back in September 2014, the Australian government abandoned the previously approved plan to dump 3 million cubic meters of sand into the Great Barrier Reef area following a public outcry.
The government subsequently found a land-based solution to dispose of the sand dredged during the expansion of the Abbot Point port.