In a bid to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on the Reef, Australia’s Palaszczuk Government has announced a new policy prohibiting transshipping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Announcing the new measures, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, explained:
Our policy will prohibit transhipping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and restrict transhipping operations in the World Heritage Area to areas that are declared ports only. For transhipping that occurs outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, appropriate environmental authorities will also be required.
The Minister added that this policy complements the Government’s commitments under the Reef 2050 Plan, while adding to a suite of programs that are protecting the Great Barrier Reef, including a record $330 million investment announced in 2018 Budget for field management programs and water quality initiatives.
The Reef contributes more than $6 billion to the Australian economy and supports more than 60,000 jobs. But the Reef is under threat, and we need to do everything we can to ensure it is protected…This policy is about protecting Queensland’s precious and sensitive marine environments and minimising cumulative impacts on the reef, by focusing marine activities in the Great Barrier Reef region to existing ports.
Ms Enoch said the policy would not affect shipping of cargo loaded in Queensland’s declared ports.
We are committed to avoiding unnecessary impacts on communities, and this is why the policy will not apply to the supply of essential services to remote communities, marine emergency response practices, the movement of cargo between vessels while docked in a port, and refueling activities,. In addition, the policy does not apply to packaged or containerised goods at any volume or to bulk materials where the quantity handled is under 100 tonnes per day.
The Government is currently developing necessary regulations and further consultation will occur once that is progressed.