No need to dump Abbot Point spoil on Reef, expert says

A TOP water quality expert says the spoil from the Abbot Point dredging project does not need to be dumped offshore in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Professor Jon Brodie, a former adviser to the marine park authority and James Cook University water expert, made the comments in an opinion piece on The Conversation website today.

He wrote that despite problems in Gladstone Harbour related to a leaking bund wall, a similar option (which did not leak), was available at the Abbot Point port.

Prof Brodie also said a second option was to build a longer jetty out to sea for ships to access for the coal exports expected to come through the port in years to come.

His comments come as the marine park authority (GBRMPA) prepares to release its decision on the proposal to dump three million cubic metres of spoil in the marine park.

While the authority's recommendation is unlikely to stop the port expansion, it will determine whether the chief authority regulating the reef will allow such actions.

If it does not approve, the project proponents may have to investigate other potential options for disposing of the spoil created by the dredging.

The emphasis should be on designing ports in ways that safeguard the Great Barrier Reef, rather than causing damage and then trying to fix it," Prof Brodie wrote.