Local Mackay lobby group criticises environmental activists

The Mackay-based Resources Industry Network (RIN) has
entered debate about the Abbott Point expansion and other Queensland resource
projects, claiming it seeks to counter “misleading” claims by environmental
activists.

Formerly known as the Mackay Area Industry Network, the lobby group released a statement suggesting the resources sector and environmental
management can co-exist with a balanced approach and scientific facts.

“The ongoing global negative focus by conservationists on
mining are a constant threat to not just jobs in this region, but to the industry
and economy as a whole,” RIN said.

“Conservationists regularly present misleading and
unfounded information to elicit emotional support for the anti-mining cause,
pulling on the heart-strings of individuals and even countries to garner
support.

“These activists unashamedly aim to ‘disrupt and delay key
projects and infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political
support for the industry and continually building the power of the movement to
win more’.”

RIN said its members were locals concerned about the area’s
industry, and that they need to vocally support their industry by presenting
their balanced viewpoints.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
approved the dumping of dredge spoil inside the marine park in January, in
order to aid the expansion of the Abbott Point coal port.

The decision was condemned by senior marine scientists, who
have said the already declining marine reef system will be further affected by
the dumping of spoil, adding to damage caused by agricultural run-off,
overfishing and extreme weather events.

Federal
environment minister Greg Hunt approved the expansion and dumping, but recently
told ABCs Four Corners program that Abbot Point was a “line in the
sand”, guaranteeing that no further dumping will take place in the marine
park under his watch.

“I made the decision that this would be the last time,
that we were changing the practice,” he said.

“Since then we have stopped four inherited proposals from
proceeding which would have seen material deposited into the marine park.”

The Abbott Point expansion will be required to facilitate the export of coal from the newly approved Carmichael Coal mine, which will supply thermal coal to India.

Image: NQBP

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