Australia: GPC Pursues The Australian Newspaper
Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited (GPC) is lodging a complaint with the Australian Press Council against The Australian newspaper for misleading and false allegations.
The Australian newspaper on the 16th, 18,h and 25th of February 2013 published four articles claiming GPC had committed a number of breaches of conditions in its conduct of the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project (WBDDP).
The Australian newspaper claimed that GPC had breached audit conditions by failing to procure an independent assessment, were in defiance of approval conditions, covered-up: had been deliberately misleading and had self-assessed its own performance in conducting the WBDDP.
GPC’s CEO Leo Zussino said the allegations have caused wide spread damage to the reputation of GPC and are offensive to every GPC employee/contractor who has acted with complete integrity and honesty during the WBDDP.
“It would have taken only one phone call from The Australian’s environmental journalist Graham Lloyd to the Federal Environment Department to clear up the misunderstanding. However, Mr Lloyd failed to do this,” Mr Zussino said.
“If Mr Lloyd spoke to the Federal Environment Department, he would have been told that the department does not consider GPC to have breached the approval conditions relating to independent audits and annual compliance reports.”
Mr Zussino said instead of The Australian retracting their false and misleading statements, the newspaper continued to berate GPC by claiming that GPC had self-assessed its own performance in conducting the WBDDP.
“If Mr Lloyd had asked GPC the question, he would have been told that quarterly third party audits of the management plans for the WBDDP are conducted along with an annual audit of compliance with the Queensland Coordinator-General’s conditions, and since the management plans include all 52 conditions of SEWPaC EPBC 2009/4904 approval, these are being audited every three months as well. However, Mr Lloyd again failed to do this.”
“GPC have taken offence to The Australian newspaper’s allegations and to their reluctance to publically apologise to GPC,” Mr Zussino said.
“GPC would like to reassure the community that the proper management of the Gladstone Harbour is our business and therefore we are committed to carrying out the WBDDP with care and respect for our environment.”
“GPC look forward to the Australian Press Council’s decision,” Mr Zussino added.
Press Release, March 11, 2013