Friends of the Earth released the statement below on November 9.
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Protesters halted dredging in Gladstone harbour today, when Friends of the Earth campaigner Derec Davies locked on to a Gladstone port corporation dredge.
Davies was part of a protest organised by Friends of the Earth with the support of local people.
He unfurled a banner on the dredge, which read “Save the reef, halt dredging” and chained himself to the dredge at approximately 9:30am in the morning, after being ferried in by a fast-travelling Zodiac inflatable speedboat.
Friends of the Earth Spokesperson Drew Hutton said that the purpose of the protest was to call for a halt to all dredging in the harbour until a genuine independent enquiry was held into the causes of the apparent ecosystem collapse in the harbour.
Hutton said the disproportionate number of marine animal deaths and diseased fish in Gladstone harbour reflected an ecosystem under extreme stress and his organisation had no faith in the Queensland government’s preparedness to look seriously for the causes.
Friends of the Earth is also calling for the current enquiry announced by federal and state governments to widen its terms of reference to include all aspects of industrial development in the region.
He also called for the state government to pay compensation to the local fishing industry, which has collapsed because of this crisis.
“This is an issue of concern to all Australians who believe the Great Barrier reef should not be sacrificed for fleeting economic development.
“The coal seam gas industry, once again, has demonstrated what a detrimental impact it is having on rural and regional Queensland.”