Qld - Spread of marine disease confirms worst fears

The Queensland Greens say that news that marine disease has now spread to prawns in Gladstone harbour confirms their worst fears regarding the seriousness of the ecosystem collapse occurring there and warned that failure to act swiftly would endanger the entire Queensland seafood industry.

‘It is unacceptable for the fisheries minister to allow the harbour to remain open and for the environment minister to not call a stop to dredging,’ Queensland Greens spokesperson Dr Libby Connors said today.

‘Work must halt until there is some definite scientific data about what is taking place in these waters.

‘Over the last few days we have had glossy advertisements from the Gladstone Ports Corporation and claims in state parliament that have added to the confusion.

‘Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace needs to acknowledge that disease seems to be spreading out from Gladstone south and north to the Kolan and Fitzroy Rivers.

‘This latest data just adds to the urgent need to solve what is happening in Gladstone waters.

The Queensland Greens called on Minister Craig Wallace to resign over the handling of the disaster at Gladstone many weeks ago and have repeatedly urged a halt to dredging.

‘The Queensland Greens have all along expressed concern that the planned expansions of coal and gas in this state would cause irreparable harm to Queensland’s sustainable primary industries of farming and fisheries but we never thought we would see such a sudden and dramatic collapse of this regional fishery.

‘It may yet be found that the dredging for coal terminals and CSG/LNG plants is not the cause of the ecosystem collapse but the failure of the government to act decisively in the face of the crisis by pausing dredging is an indication that they will not stand up to the coal and gas industries.

‘The New South Wales ALP have finally acknowledged that a moratorium on CSG development is  essential for that state.

‘The Queensland Government’s refusal to acknowledge the urgent need for a similar pause in Queensland is part of the reason why they are lagging in the polls.

‘The state election is going to be fought on coal and gas but sadly neither major party is sufficiently independent to manage this powerful sector and its unfolding environmental havoc.’

Contact: Libby Connors 0429 487 110
Media Release, Queensland Greens
Monday 21 November 2011