ABBOT POINT AND PORT OF GLADSTONE 150% WATER QUALITY BENEFIT
The Abbot Point and Gladstone Port projects were carefully assessed for their potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef including on water quality. Strict conditions have been placed on all these projects to ensure that any impacts are avoided, mitigated or offset. A net benefit test has been applied in setting conditions on each project in order to reverse the water quality decline identified in the Great Barrier Reef region strategic assessment, by requiring substantial offset packages. For example, with the Abbot Point dredging and spoil disposal project, in order to address the cumulative impacts of dredging on water quality, the company must offset the amount of fine sediments released into the marine environment and available for re-suspension by 150 per cent. This will be done by funding onshore activities to reduce the amount of fine sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from catchment areas. The result will be a long term net reduction of fine sediments entering the Great Barrier Reef from land based sources, well beyond the life of this project. A similar 150 per cent offset condition has been imposed on the dredging component of the Curtis Island LNG development. The comprehensive set of conditions put in place to protect water quality is outlined below.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation Limited - Abbot Point Terminal 0, 2 & 3 Capital Dredging
Under Labor, at least 38 million cubic metres of dredging was proposed for Abbot Point. Under these approvals, dredging is limited to a total volume of up to 3 million cubic metres. No more than 1.3 million cubic metres of sediment can be dredged or disposed of in a year, unless the proponent can demonstrate that increased dredging will not compromise water quality. Dredging and disposal activities can only be undertaken between 1 March and 30 June each year to protect water quality during critical times for seagrass growth and coral spawning. The proponent must prepare and submit to the Minister a number of plans prior to the commencement of dredging and disposal activities:
Dredging And Spoil Disposal Management Plan
this plan requires early warning trigger levels for water quality and ecosystem health to address possible impacts from turbidity, sediment deposition and impacts on seagrass.
Abbot Point Ecosystem Research And Monitoring Program
this program requires monitoring of water quality and ecosystem health within a Great Barrier Reef water quality monitoring framework. It requires the validation of hydrodynamic modelling, and the development of measures to monitor water quality (including where sediment travels from the dredging and disposal site) and seagrass health and recovery.
Disposal Site Analysis Plan
this plan requires the identification of alternative disposal sites for analysis and must outline a process for public consultation. Disposal will only be allowed at an alternative site if it would have the equivalent or lesser impacts than the site