Hunt calls for inquiry into Gladstone leak

Green groups say new developments along the Queensland coast should be stopped until an inquiry into a leaking bund wall at Gladstone Harbour has been carried out.

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Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has ordered his department to carry out an inquiry into why the wall leaked in 2011 at the Curtis Island liquefied natural gas dredging project.

“We will await the outcome of the review before considering what, if any, action needs to be taken,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

The wall, designed to hold 25 million tonnes of dredged soil, reportedly failed because its inferior lining was inappropriately placed on the side of the wall rather than being buried inside it.

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) repaired the leak in 2012.

Felicity Wishart, from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, has called on the government to stop any further port developments until an inquiry into the leak has been carried out.

She said the leak caused dangerous chemicals to leech into the harbour, which may have affected marine life in the area.

“The minister should not be approving any new dredging, dumping or port developments in the reef until we know the truth about Gladstone,” she said.

A report released last year on sick fish in Gladstone Harbour found that flooding was the main cause of the problem.

The report said flooding, combined with large numbers of fish being washed over the Awoonga dam, stressed the ecosystem in the central Queensland city’s harbour and adjacent waterways.

A GPC spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the company would not be making any public comment, but would be speaking to Mr Hunt’s department.

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