An outbreak of common sense

“Dear resident,
Politicians don’t often say they got it wrong, but here it is:
I got it wrong.”

These were the opening words of an open letter from Federal MP George Christensen to Whitsunday residents regarding the proposed expansion of the Abbott Point coal facility and featured in a recent article in the Townsville Bulletin.

In his letter George says that he did not foresee the angst the dumping of dredge soil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park would cause tourism operators and residents of the Whitsundays.

Abbott Point
(Abbott Point currently – photo from Townsville Bulletin)

The current plan is for North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) to dump 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the GBR Marine Park off Abbot Point as part of a proposal to turn Abbot Point into the world’s biggest coal export facility.

George’s letter goes on to say that he has started talks with NQBP about land based options for the disposal of dredge material and that NQBP have agreed to re-examine all land based options before proceeding with any work. George promises that if a viable option emerges then he will ensure that the soil is dumped on land and not at sea.

George finishes his letter with the words “You’ve spoken – I’ve listened”.

Sadly some of the comments following the article are personal attacks on George Christensen and suggestions of reasons for his change of heart. I think a better strategy would be “soft on the person, hard on the problem”.

Let’s welcome George’s apology – something very rare from the current Federal government – and work with him to make sure that a better option for disposing of the dredge spoil is found.


About peterhanley1

Peter Hanley has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. His interests include human rights, social justice, sustainability and community development. True North explores issues in these areas.
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2 Responses to An outbreak of common sense

  1. We acknowledge that while in Airlie Beach our MP apologetically says “I got it wrong”. However in Bowen,just 60kms to the north in the same very beautiful Whitsundays region, it’s a very different full page notice he serves up to his concerned constituents.
    He published a full page ad in the Bowen Independent newspaper last Friday labelling us as extreme greens who using Abbot Point dumping issue as a “weapon” in the “war on Bowen’s future”. Definitely no such apologies for us. It is his attempt to try, as he has done on numerous occasions, to intimidate us locals who have dared to raise their concerns about the dumping of millions of tonnes of sludge into our magnificent ocean, reef’s waters and prime fishing grounds.
    If our MP thinks the load of drivel he published here will dissuade us who live, love, work and play here in the Bowen/Whitsundays region from doing what we just have to do well he is grossly mistaken.
    It is deplorable behaviour from our elected representative who thinks he can win a few more votes by kicking a “greenie” every now and then and inciting hatred towards us from the ignorant and mis-informed.

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