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Hinchinbrook inquiry outcome predictable.

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Senator the Hon Robert Hill

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Minister for the Environment and Heritage




Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill has described the Senate inquiry into the Port Hinch inbrook development as a politically motivated charade.


“The terms of reference ensured the outcome was predetermined before the inquiry began. The entire exercise was a waste of taxpayers money and will have no environmental benefit,” Senator Hill said.


“The Port Hinchinbrook development is the most intensively studied and monitored project on the Queensland coast. It has been the subject of more than twenty scientific reports over the last ten years.


“The environmental regime covering the construction and operation of Port Hinchinbrook is extraordinarily rigorous. This regime can only be described as a success because there has been no evidence of any adverse impact on world heritage values as a result of the development.”


Senator Hill said environmental conditions imposed on the Port Hinchinbrook development include:


·  The developer must manage the site in accordance with a Turbidity Control Plan approved by the Commonwealth.

·  All waters flowing from the land as a result of construction activities must, in terms of turbidity, be of a quality at least equal to Hinchinbrook Channel.

·  Dredging operations were required to incorporate best practice engineering techniques.

·  The developer is required to manage the site in accordance with an approved acid sulfate soil management plan. The developer must not allow any acidic water to flow from the site into Hinchinbrook Channel.


“These environmental conditions are overseen by an Independent Monitor, an Environmental Site Supervisor and a Technical Advisory G roup, ensuring this is one of the most carefully monitored developments in Australia.”


A legal challenge to the consents granted for Port Hinchinbrook was dismissed by the Federal Court and the High Court. The Federal Court described the claims made by opponents of the resort as ‘insupportable’ and stated that the Government had ‘imposed extensive and detailed obligations’ on the developer.


Senator Hill said a regional plan is currently being prepared for the Hinchinbrook area to ensure long term protection for the region’s environmental values.


September 27, 1999


Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640



rw  1999-09-29  16:14