SYDNEY, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The development of five mega ports along Australia's Great Barrier Reef will put the World Heritage site in new danger because of excessive dredging, the Australian Greens said on Friday.
Port expansions will occur along the Queensland coast at Abbot Point, one of the world's biggest coal terminals, as well as Gladstone, Hay Point, Mackay, and Townsville.
The Queensland government said it would prohibit dredging for the development of new, or the expansion of existing port facilities outside these five port precincts, for the next decade.
But Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said in a media release that "the new faux restriction on dredging has so many loopholes it's useless".
"It won't apply to any of the damaging dredging already applied for which is the very dredging that UNESCO was concerned about," she said.
"Dredge spoil doesn't need to be dumped into the Reef at all it's only because it's cheaper for the big mining companies than disposing on land that it's happening."
Waters said the Gladstone Harbour inquiry showed that compliance with environmental conditions of port dredging and dumping was grossly inadequate.
She said the Queensland government needs to wake up and realise this is a World Heritage Area that employs 63,000 people and not a dredging and dumping ground for the big mining companies.