Scientist 'alarmed' over Hinchinbrook go-ahead
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — The use of a recent scientific report to overturn objections to developer Keith Williams' controversial Port Hinchinbrook project was an abuse, an environmental scientist said on December 2.
James Cook University research fellow in tropical environmental studies Tony Preen said he was "surprised and alarmed" by federal environment minister John Faulkner's decision that day to give the Oyster Point development the green light.
Faulkner said, following discussions between himself and Queensland environment minister Molly Robson and departmental officials, that cooperative mechanisms which had been agreed with Queensland would be consistent with his World Heritage responsibilities.
Dr Preen, who helped prepare an earlier report on the environmental impact of the resort project for the federal government, said: "For Senator Faulkner to use [this recent] report from the panel of experts to support the development going ahead is an abuse of that report."
Preen said the terms of reference for the report were restricted to the effect of clearing mangroves on the seagrass beds and ignored more serious problems such as increased boat traffic and the control of pests.
"For Faulkner to keep his head in the sand like an ostrich over these sorts of issues is cheating. He's not being serious", Preen said.
"There's been no assessment of the environmental impact. There's precious little data upon which to make assumptions."
Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland director Adrian Jeffreys said he was "extremely disappointed" to hear of the latest Hinchinbrook development. He said protests at the site would continue.