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Wildlife fund calls for halt to new reef port development

An aerial view of Gladstone Harbour.
An aerial view of Gladstone Harbour. David Sparkes

THE future of port development in Queensland is again the centre of heated debate.

WWF-Australia on Thursday called on the Queensland Government to cancel all new reef port development.

It follows the release last year of a report by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning that showed Queensland's three major coal ports were only operating at 52% capacity.

WWF-Australia spokesman Nick Heath said the findings indicated no need to build or expand any more ports in Queensland because existing infrastructure was being under-utilised.

The report also forecast the number of ships on the Great Barrier Reef would increase by about 3% per year.

"Infrastructure can meet this demand. We need to use it efficiently," Mr Heath said.

"In Central Queensland, Port Alma and Balaclava Island are earmarked for future development despite being in a World Heritage Area.

"Why waste billions of dollars building new ports when we don't use the ones we have?"

Acting Premier Jeff Seeney said it was no surprise the WWF did not support the State Government's position.

"Port infrastructure must be planned and constructed to meet the demands of resource projects far into the future," Mr Seeney said.

"Quite simply, our resource sector would be totally uncompetitive if companies waited until demand emerged before providing export infrastructure."

Topics:  development gladstone gladstone harbour gladstone ports corporation


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