May 192014

Original story by Sharnie Kim, ABC News

A tourism industry group is mounting a legal challenge against the decision to allow the dumping of dredge spoil in the Barrier Reef marine park area off far north Qld.
 Coal export terminal at Abbot Point.

Coal export terminal at Abbot Point.

The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) is taking the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBPC) to the Federal Court next month.

It is challenging the decision to allow three million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion at Bowen to be dumped at sea.

AMPTO spokesman Col McKenzie alleges the marine park authority breached its own rules.

“Their own environmental scientists weren’t happy with granting the permit and on that basis alone the precautionary principle should’ve come into play,” he said.

He says the association is not against development but wants the dredge spoil dumped on land.

Mr McKenzie says the permit should never have been issued.

“The reality is there is simply just not enough science that would indicate the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil will not have a bad effect on the environment,” he said.

A number of green groups are running separate challenges.

The matter goes before the Federal Court in Cairns in June.

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