Global energy giant Shell’s rethink of a planned fourth LNG plant at Curtis Island makes it the latest organisation to acknowledge projects contributing to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef are a bad investment, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart said a changing global marketplace for coal and gas and increased community opposition to the industrialisation of the Reef were likely to see appetite for these projects continue to dry up in 2014.
The Federal government inquiry into the Gladstone Harbour dredge project announced this week will place further attention on the real environmental threat from dredging, dumping and other port-related activity.
“Some of industry’s biggest players are beginning to put the brakes on plans for industrial projects with impacts along the Great Barrier Reef coast,” Wishart said.
“Last year Glencore Xstrata withdrew plans for their coal export terminal in the Fitzroy Delta, BHP withdrew from investing in the Abbot Point coal terminal and the railway plan to connect proposed Galilee Basin coal projects with Abbot Point was downsized.
“A 2013 Deloitte Access Economics report also confirmed investment banks are losing confidence in Australian coal investments.
“The Queensland and Federal governments are clinging desperately to a development at any cost approach, despite the downsizing and uncertainty from project investors.
“Their shortsighted decisions and weakening of environmental protections threaten a $6 billion tourism asset that generates 63,000 good, local jobs.
“The consequences for Reef, tourism operators, the fishing industry and local communities from the massive port expansion at Abbot Point, Gladstone and other ports along its coast can no longer be ignored.
“Just as forward-focused companies are rethinking investment in coal and gas projects, so our leaders should prioritise the strong protection of the Reef, Queensland’s prime tourism asset. A strong economy relies on a healthy environment to sustain it,” Wishart said.