The Queensland government has backed plans for onshore dumping of dredged material from the Abbot Point Port expansion.
The move comes after massive public backlash against plans for offshore dumping in waters near the Great Barrier Reef.
The Abbot Point Port and Wetland strategy, which makes provisions for onshore dumping, has been submitted to the Federal Government for approval.
Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney said the new plan would deliver “a win for jobs and a win for the environment.”
“What is even more exciting is that this strategy provides an opportunity for nearby wetlands to be preserved and enhanced for the benefits of locals and visitors to North Queensland,” he said.
“We are inviting the local community and environmentalists to work with us to restore freshwater flows to degraded areas of the wetland, expand its area and consider access points for the general public to boost tourism activity in the area.”
Seeney said that although he expected some in the environmental community would oppose development of any type, most Queenslanders would see this as a breakthrough strategy that offered a much-needed alternative to sea disposal of dredge material.
Seeney has also said that only three million tonnes of material will be dredged from the port area.
With government approval, construction work on the onshore area will begin in January 2015, which will enable dredging to start on schedule in March 2015.