Gladstone Harbour Dredge Protest: local protestor supported by the courts

MEDIA RELEASE 11 May 2012

Today the Brisbane magistrates court supported the efforts of Gladstone local Mark Discoll in his stand defending the destructive dredging of the Gladstone Harbour in the Great Barrier Reef.

On the 14 March 2012 Gladstone local Mark 'Potts' Driscoll boarded and stopped one of the controversial Gladstone Harbour dredges. Mr Driscoll took action to defend the Great Barrier Reef and Gladstone Harbour from the destructive dredging caused by Queensland's coal seam gas industry.

Mr Driscoll walked from court with no fine and no record, after being charged under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994. Mark Driscoll is a concerned resident of the Gladstone Region. He is a Real Estate agent by trade.

“I am just a regular Joe, I understand we have to have development but it has to be done responsibly”

“I have grave concerns for Gladstone, the social and environmental impacts from this massive development is too high a price to pay” said Mr Driscoll.

Marking the last day of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee visit to Queensland in March 2012. Mark (Potts) Driscoll chained himself to the harbour dredge Razende Bol and Rotterdam boat, shutting down the controversial development of the Coal Seam Gas LNG port facility on Curtis Island in Gladstone Queensland.

Recent independent scientific studies of Gladstone Harbour have clearly identified the changes to the harbour from the intensive dredging has cause the death of countless dugongs, turtles and fish. The Queensland Government and Coal Seam Gas industry is responsible.

“I have no regrets for the action that I took. We have already lost one industry – fishing – and our tourism industry is now at risk”, said Mr Driscoll.

Gladstone Harbour and surrounding waterways of the Fitzroy River delta are set to undergo massive development to accommodate the Surat Basin and lower Bowen Basin's new coal and CSG LNG (Coal Seam Gas and Liquified Natural Gas) export port facilities. Current figures show Gladstone Harbour will accommodate export facilities for an additional 9 Coal Mines and 4 LNG projects, in addition to the current export from existing mines.

Friends of the Earth calls for an immediate halt to further major developments approvals in the Great Barrier Reef catchment until the Strategic Assessment is completed to the World Heritage Committee's satisfaction.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to pass a resolution at its June 2012 meeting to declare the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage in Danger, and move towards removing World Heritage status from Australia.

Media contacts:
Derec Davies, Friends of the Earth        mob     0421 835 587