//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Australia investigates corruption in Great Barrier Reef protection agency


Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an “immediate” inquiry into the agency charged with protecting the Great Barrier Reef, after revelations that board members held interests in companies that could benefit from expanding coal and gas production near the reef.

The revelations come as the Great Barrier Reef faces growing threats to its existence. Massive coal ports are planned along the Queensland coastline, which environmental groups predict will have devastating effects on the reef.

Abbot Point would be the world’s biggest coal port if approved for development in coming months.

The north Queensland coastal township closest to Abbot Point is about to get the chance to argue its case for and against the expansion.

Bowen residents will get to express their views to Mr Hunt when he visits their community on Wednesday afternoon.

Some say the project will restore business confidence, while others fear the dredging and dumping of three million tonnes of seabed will harm the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Hunt will arrive in Bowen, south of Townsville, a week after delaying a decision on the project, which had already been pushed back by the former Labor government.

The ABC has reported documents it obtained show the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has taken an increasingly weaker position on new port developments near the reef.

At a crucial meeting in September 2012 the authority’s board decided to soften its previous opposition to port developments that had “potential to degrade inshore biodiversity”.

Board minutes reveal “the board requested that the position statement be changed”. Instead of being a deal-breaker, the harmful impact of port developments on biodiversity would now be a “key consideration”.

One of the five board members who took part in the discussions, Jon Grayson, who represents the Queensland government on the board, was revealed to own shares in Gasfields Water and Waste Services.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Mathieson told the ABC that given Gasfields stood to profit from the growth of Queensland’s gas industry she thought there were “questions about whether Mr Grayson would benefit”.

The other Marine Park Authority board member facing conflict of interest allegations is former Townsville mayor Tony Mooney, who was appointed to the board by the Gillard government in 2011.

The ABC investigation revealed Mr Mooney works as a mining executive at Guildford Coal, which reportedly plans to run as many as six coal mines in Queensland.

Ms Mathieson told the ABC that given Mr Mooney gets paid “up to a quarter of a million dollars a year to manage stakeholders for a coal company” she was sure it would be “a lot easier” to manage a stakeholder like the Marine Park Authority “if you sit directly on the board”.

Mr Mooney denied there was a conflict of interest but said he declared his employment with Guildford, according to the ABC. Mr Grayson also declined an interview but a spokeswoman for the Premier issued a statement.

“The Queensland Government rejects any suggestion Mr Grayson has a conflict of interest. Following his appointment, and with accordance with the Queensland Integrity Commissioner’s advice, Mr Grayson ceased to have any management involvement in active companies.”

“[Mr Grayson’s] retention of passive interests is in accordance with the Commissioner’s advice and poses real or potential conflict of interest.”

Mr Hunt said on Wednesday he had “ordered an immediate, independent probity inquiry into the allegations that have been raised”.

“These are new allegations,” he added. “All of the appointments were made prior to the current government taking office.”

The Environment Minister said the two board members of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority had “strong reputations” and he did not want to “draw any judgment in any direction” about the conflict-of-interest allegations.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald – Environment Minister Greg Hunt orders inquiry into reef authority
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

Coronation Of Emperor Xi and the world thereafter

A few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s arrest news took social media by storm. The atmosphere was jubilant as if the whole world looked forward to Xi’s exit. The rumor turned out to be fake news; Xi’s third term looks secured. Xi Jinping is all set to snatch the historic third term in the […]

China is coming for your land

China is coming for your land

Drought has plunged water levels to the lowest in China in decades. The temperatures have also soared to record levels, and hydropower plants failed to meet the sharp rise in power demand. However, this is just a glimpse of the worst things to come. Floods, droughts, and record-breaking temperatures would have a catastrophic effect on […]

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

The Chinese military has intensified its drone incursions into the skies above Taiwan with almost daily flights of combat and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) TB-001 drone was spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the island and China’s […]

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India’s foreign ministry said on Friday that disengagement along a disputed border area with China will be completed by Sept. 12. Both countries began disengaging from the Gogra-Hot Springs border area in the western Himalayas on Thursday, over two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting […]

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

Two electrifying moves in recent weeks have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act extends the Obama-era EV tax […]

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

In the post-cold war era, India has moved from a policy of non-alignment to a policy of multi-alignment. This means that India has friendly relations with almost all-powerful and developing nations. Today India is carving out a unique path for itself. Such an approach provides prominence and exposes India to the harmful behind-curtain activities by […]

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s frontline island of Kinmen was once again in the headlines when President Tsai Ing-wen paid tribute this week to the soldiers and civilians who “operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan” 64 years ago. On Aug. 23, 1958 mainland Chinese troops attacked Kinmen in a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan […]

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

The father of communism, Karl Marx, once famously said — “We have no compassion, and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror”. This statement summarises how terrorism and communism go hand in hand. Maoist China alone destroyed between 44.5 to 72 million lives. During […]

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say. Beijing has ramped up military maneuvers in the 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China — and the […]

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

%d bloggers like this: