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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
27 November 1996
In response to allegations made by the North Queensland Conservation Council I have asked officers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to urgently investigate the matters raised.
GBRMPA have advised that the answers to the specific issues raised are as follows:
- The developer is not building a breakwater into Hinchinbrook Channel. The Queensland Department of Economic Development and Trade have advised that the wall in question relates to the revetment on the banks of Stony Creek which is permitted by Queensland under the operational plan for the site. A site visit by officers from GBRMPA on 28 November 1996 confirm this.
- These works are within a S86 lease of the seabed held by Cardwell Properties. GBRMPA is checking to see if this falls within the World Heritage Property.
- The developer does not have consent under the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983 to build a breakwater wall. As indicated above, such a wall is not being constructed.
- Queensland have advised that the Commonwealth baseline monitoring is complete and that the first annual monitoring of the foreshore has commenced and that they expect to receive the results of the survey shortly.
- Vast quantities of sand are not being moved onto the foreshore without consent. The developer is only placing fill within his property boundaries and that the work is being carried out to the satisfaction of Queensland authorities and the environmental site supervisor appointed by the Queensland Department of Environment. GBRMPA officers have visited the site and confirmed that the developers claims are correct.
- The Deed of Variation permits the establishment of several test sites using sand, geo-fabric or other measures with the potential to stabilise the foreshore if the strategies proposed in the Beach and Foreshore Management Plan (BFMP) proves to be inadequate. There is no evidence that the replanting program is not stabilising the foreshore.
- Since sand is not being deposited on the foreshore the question of compliance with the BFMP and the potential for breaches of the deed in relation to this activity do not arise.
- I note that the developer is not permitted to establish a sand beach on the foreshore.
GBRMPA have advised that the Deed is not being complied with in that an Independent Monitor has not been appointed and certain works are occurring before the Turbidity Control Plan has been approved by the Commonwealth.
Accordingly, I have written to Dr McPhail, Chairman of the GBRMPA, asking him to take appropriate action to ensure the Deed is complied with.
I have also written to the Queensland Government indicating that the Commonwealth is strongly committed to ensuring the Deed is fully complied with.