High Community Concern About Cairns Dredging Proposal
The soon to be published results of the ‘What is the Future of Our Reef?’ Community survey show a high level of community concern regarding the Cairns Shipping Development proposal. The public outcry regarding the recent decision on Abbot Point dredging and dumping foreshadows public protest and community opposition to the larger scale dredging proposed in the Cairns Shipping Development Project.
Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) Marine Programs Coordinator Josh Coates said:
“The results of the community survey indicate an overwhelmingly high level of concern regarding the proposal to dredge over 5 million cubic meters of mud to expand the shipping channel into Trinity Inlet. When survey participants were asked how concerned they were about the proposal over 95% indicated they were concerned with 75% saying they were ‘very concerned’.
“Less than 5% said they were not concerned or ‘don’t know’.”
“The community is right to be concerned, and we will continue to educate people about the risks involved in the lead up to the release of the Environmental Impact Statement and beyond.”
“The proposed Cairns Shipping Development Project in Trinity Inlet would require dredging of over 5 million cubic meters of potentially contaminated mud. Options such as dumping the spoil offshore in the Marine Park or dumping onshore are being discussed and all have major risks associated.”
“If this project goes ahead we risk destroying our already struggling seagrass beds, further muddying our Northern beaches, damaging our coral reefs and ruining our inshore commercial and recreational fishing.”
“The mud to be dredged is almost certainly contaminated and resuspending this sediment into the greater Trinity environment can lead to wildlife, and perhaps even human, health impacts. We only need to look at the outcomes of dredging in Gladstone harbour which was associated with fish disease outbreaks and devastated the recreational and commercial fishing industries.”
About the community survey:
CAFNEC has overseen the ‘What is the Future of our Reef?’ community survey. The extensive survey was taken by 843 community members from Cairns and surrounding areas at stalls set up in Cairns Central, at markets and via the CAFNEC website. Full results of the survey are available here.