The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) will impose 47 strict conditions on the disposal of dredge material in the Marine Park from the Abbot Point terminal expansion.
The following is a summary of the main conditions:
- A dredging and spoil disposal management plan will need to be approved by GBRMPA.
- Disposal must only occur between 1 March and 30 June of each year. This four month window falls outside times of the year where coral spawning and seagrass growth occurs.
- The disposal of capital dredge spoil material must not result in any harm to environmental, cultural or heritage values of:
- fringing reefs adjacent to Holbourne Island
- a 500 metre buffer area around the WWII Catalina wreck
- fishing grounds adjacent to Nares Rock
- any areas beyond 20 kilometres from the disposal site.
- Disposal activities cannot take place when wind and wave conditions or turbidity exceed specific levels — this will ensure sediment plume does not reach the WWII Catalina wreck site.
- A limit of 1.3 million cubic metres of capital dredge spoil material can be disposed of in any one calendar year.
- NQBP must establish, fund and facilitate an independent dredging and disposal technical advice panel. The membership of the panel must be approved by GBRMPA prior to works starting.
- NQBP must also establish, fund and facilitate an independent dredging and disposal management response group to provide further scrutiny and transparency over the project. This must include community and industry representatives.
- The company is required to develop and implement a heritage management plan to protect the Catalina World War II aircraft wreck located in Abbot Bay. The plan will need approval from GBRMPA.
- NQBP must develop a social impact program to identify any adverse impacts on the tourism and fishing industries, including any reductions in water quality. It must also detail how any lost income to the fishing and tourism industries will be compensated in the event that adverse impacts occur.
- The social impact program must include trigger levels and mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of impact on sensitive tourism and fishing sites.
- A report must be submitted to GBRMPA no later than two months after the end of each annual disposal activity detailing the actual disposal plume footprint and any real or perceived impacts on the tourism and fishing industry in the Whitsunday–Bowen tourism and fishing areas.
- A long-term monitoring plan must be implemented to detect changes to the environment which may be attributable to the disposal activities. This will inform any actions that may be needed to minimise adverse impacts. This monitoring program must continue for five years after the final disposal campaign has finished.
- An environmental site supervisor appointed by GBRMPA will be in place at all times at Abbot Point to oversee compliance with permit conditions. The site supervisor has the authority to stop, suspend, or modify activities if they believe those activities are likely to cause environmental harm.