By Rebecca Danslow –
What’s our reef worth ?
Two separate dumping incidents, and the fines imposed, have brought this into question for many Gladstone region residents.
Questions have been raised about Federal Government penalties and their effectiveness as a deterrent.
This week, the Gladstone Ports Corporation was fined $6600 for the dumping of 730 cubic metres of dredge spoil within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Last month, The Hope Star Shipping Company was ordered to pay $5000 and its Chinese master to pay $300 after it dumped garbage about 210km north-east of Gladstone earlier this year.
Gladstone Councillor Col Chapman described the recent fines as token gestures.
“I don’t believe that these penalties are enough to deter dumping by companies,” Cr Chapman said.
“Orica was fined considerably more for breaching its conditions and ordered to make alterations to their management systems and structures to comply.”
Mr Chapman said extreme care should be taken to ensure the long term health of the reef.
“In Queensland, a person or company can be fined up to $33,000 for dumping illegal waste on land, so why not a similar amount for dumping at sea,” Cr Chapman said.
“To me, it shows that we do not value the reef highly enough.”