Dredging a Harbor Won’t Destroy the Great Barrier Reef

Activist group GetUp! has just launched a campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef from the dredging of Gladstone Harbor.


“Millions of cubic metres of sea floor is being removed from the Great Barrier Reef right now. It’s the largest dredging project ever undertaken in Australia, making way for massive new coal seam gas export facilities.

“This massive industrial activity is damaging the Great Barrier Reef and threatens its status as a World Heritage Site. Sign the emergency petition now!”

Over the years the Great Barrier Reef has been going to be destroyed by crown-of-thorns starfish, over-fishing, agricultural run-off, global warming and more. But it’s still a big place running almost the entire length of Queensland and still in mostly pristine condition. And dredging of one little harbor is not going to have any long-term significant impact. In fact Heron Island, just off the coast of Gladstone, is still open for business…


72 Responses to Dredging a Harbor Won’t Destroy the Great Barrier Reef

  1. hunter November 8, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    The misanthropy of environmental extremists really becomes stark when this opposition to a common sense helpful project is examined.
    Notice how they vastly misrepresent the amount of dredging to be done, claiming it is in the millions of cubic meters without pointing out hos trivial that amount is in region like the GBR.
    Notice also that they cannot honestly call the roject ‘natural gas’ but they have to call shale formation gas recovery as ‘coal seam gas’, to falsely imply this gas is somehow tainted with coal.
    and of course the enviro extremists ahve already been able to pretend coal is evil for so long that few even question that untruth anymore.
    These enviro extremists are all too often at the end of the day simply people who despise their fellow humans, and are the smug elites not caring about the progress or well being of humanity at all.
    Best wishes in fighting your phony self-declared environmentalists. We are dealing with similar groups unrestrained by fact or truth in the US who are pulling every selazy trick available to prevent a much needed pipeline from being built.

  2. Jon at WA November 8, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    The usual small minds of the Marine Park Authority, University coffee shops, Get up, Their ABC etc appear to miss the obvious. After a summer of excellent growth fertilised by run-off of floods, cooler water temperatures over winter reduce productivity and we see morbidity increase and the obvious stress of disease. To say dredging and increased structure in the harbour is detrimental flies in the face of all that is known about where to go fishing.
    Happens in human populations too, see Somalia!

  3. Luke November 8, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Hunter what drivel. What would you know matey. The whole industry is called coal seam gas even by the coal seam gas industry. Funny that.

    And the people that are complaining in Gladstone are the local fisherman. And if you actually did what called “listening” you would hear a debate about the recent flood versus heavy metals/dredging as causes.

  4. Deet November 8, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    Yay, Get-up want to help us! The sensationalism in their campaign blurb is ridiculous. They are attempting to misled their members(groupies) by claiming the LNG companies are dredging the GBR. The GBR is NOT being dredged, The shipping channel inside Gladstone harbour is the area being dredged. The nearest reef that could be considered part of the GBR is Rock cod shoals which is approximately 35km from the North entrance of the Gladstone harbour. Then a collection of reefs spread out to the north, east and south from there. I have fished these reefs for many years, as have friends, and I have not witnessed or heard of any issues in regards to reef fish quality since the on-set of the dredging. As a Long term resident( I think 40 years qualifies) I’m as concerned as anybody about what is happening in Gladstone harbour and I say harbour deliberately because all the reported problems appear to confined to the harbour and adjacent estuaries /rivers( Calliope and Boyne). Some people are saying the dredging is the cause, although the GPC is saying water testing is showing no significant change in water quality, including Ph levels. The Government is suggesting it is the floods and spilling of large amounts freshwater and sediments into the system. All I would like is some answers and then a solution to the problem. The Gladstone region is a beautiful part of Queensland to raise a family and to visit but at the moment all the hyped up, arm waving of so called “concerned parties” it one thing more we don’t need.

  5. Ross November 8, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    ‘Get Up’ somehow have got my email address and won’t stop sending me their propaganda.They claim over half a million supporters which is a lie, since they include people like me who critise them.

  6. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    “A three-week fishing ban was imposed on the Gladstone harbour due to considerable water quality concerns after sick fish with skin lesions and cloudy eyes were found.

    The ban was lifted on October 6 following water test results, released by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), that indicated no deterioration in water quality since dredging began.”

    It is obviously causing some short term local problems as would be expected which is making hay for enviro groups.

    One of the biggest problems Australia has always had with human settlement is the shallowness of coastal regions and the necessity to dredge.

    By concentrating bulk terminals to a few major ports the environmental effects can be minimised.

    However 4 Corners will be making a meal of it tonight!

  7. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Sorry, that probably happened last night.

  8. Luke November 8, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    And the 4 Corners program did canvas the benefits of development versus the environmental values.

    And in the Curtis Island, Port Alma, Balaclava Island developments area you have endangered species of turtles and dolphins. A new coal loader mooted for the far north at Bathurst Bay with pristine inshore reefs and local dugong.

    a massive increase in very large shipping through the whole reef in the future. Add to high levels of agricultural runoff, recent floods and cyclone damage.

    And so what’s the tourist industry impact if the park loses its World Heritage Status in a blaze of negative publicity.

    We can’t afford to be amateurs managing this international class environmental asset

  9. jennifer November 8, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    What’s the benefit of ‘World Heritage Status’?
    I live across from Great Keppel Island, resort re-development there would be less intrusive than the current work in Gladstone Harbour but Commonwealth government won’t let it go ahead. No-one visits the place anymore and the walking tracks are becoming overrun with invasive weeds.

  10. Marc November 8, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Jennifer, I am slightly bewildered and a tad confused regarding your position. As biologist you would surely be aware of cumulative impacts, buffering capacity and tipping points. I appreciate that society in general is inherently reactive and won’t generally act until a significant impact is apparent and felt. This ultimately results in circumstances where the cost of remediation (if it is in fact possible) far outweighs the cost of management intervention to prevent the event happening in the first place.

    Can you please clarify your stance. From what I can gather, either you submit to the theory that change is inevitable and the loss or redistribution of species and ecological systems (and their environmental services) is unavoidable as a consequence of one species’ extraordinary capacity for growth, technology and environmental modification. Or, you are protecting your current and future stream of income from consultancies with developers.

  11. Jennifer Marohasy November 8, 2011 at 9:24 am #


    I’ve spent some time checking out the various claims of a cumulative impact from people and industrialization on the reef … you can read and then find some references here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/saving-the-great-barrier-reef/

    And your best evidence for an impact… cumulative or otherwise?

    And please retract the inference in your above comment that my opinion is bought. I don’t do consultancies with developers.

  12. Susan November 8, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Here’s the link to the Four Corners ‘Great Barrier Grief’ if anyone missed it.

    ‘World Heritage Status’ is to let blase Australians realize they have a treasure at their doorstep that they take for granted.

    Part of the Four Corners report mentioned heavy metals in the water reports that were not explored. Dredging would be disturbing the coastal acid sulphate soils at the bottom of the harbour.

    I would like to know what type of testing was done. Looks like not much if you can go by what the show was saying.

  13. Marc November 8, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Jennifer, I believe there is no need for a retraction because it was not an accusation it was part of a question and one of two options provided. You have responded with an answer which I except and I will raise it not again.

    In relation to the ‘or’ statement, what is your position on this?

    Furthermore, do you believe that as a society we ARE inherently reactive and are recalcitrant in our pre-emptive intervention and only respond when ‘tipping points’ or collapse becomes apparent?

  14. Jennifer Marohasy November 8, 2011 at 10:04 am #


    As a society we seem unable to address real environmental issues (for example the issue of the barrages at the bottom of the Murray River destroying the estuary and depriving the lakes of water during drought/ overgrazing in the Macquarie Marshes) while preoccupied with non-issues (AGW will not destroy the GBR).

    If GetUp really cared about Gladstone and its harbour it would attempt some understanding of the specific issue.

  15. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    7 billion people can’t exist along side pristine wilderness however much we would like to.

    However, if managed well, the buffer zones can be quite narrow.

    The best govt regs when set up are never policed properly because the environment is not the squeaky hinge that demands oil. And speaking of oil, shipping accidents in extreme weather are probably unpreventable anyway.

    So-called “tipping points” and “collapse” I see happening every day [I live between two national parks] and they can almost always be prevented or fixed if we are even half serious about it.

    We mostly need money and motivation to carry out good government and the Getup! philosophy deprives us of both.

  16. debbie November 8, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Oh good grief!
    That is so true Jen.
    I sincerely wish Getup would actually get up off their collective posteriors and leave their highly protected urban environment and go out and look and listen at the local level.
    I sincerely wish they actually truly cared about the real issues at Gladstone rather than the media mileage and political kudos they are reaping.

    Who are you kidding Marc?
    Of course human society is reactive…..depending on the issue every single one of us are reactive. You are too.
    What would you call Getup’s response? Calm, moderate and well informed? (ROFL)
    I think I would call it reactive.
    What would you call Getup’s income stream? (ROFL)
    I think I would call it fundraising by shameless appeals to irrational emotions.

    As always…because us humans like to inhabit coastal fringes and also need access to fresh water….we are going to impact the environment somehow.

    What organisations like Getup completely fail to recognise is the majority of their members live in those completely altered and impacted urban coastal fringe areas and they are just as guilty as the people they criticise.

    The good thing is that we are slowly but surely getting better at being more environmentally responsible. The city environments, although having completely altered their natural resources, have learned to clean up their act and we see the clean up and beautification of areas like the Yarra, Darling Harbour etc…..they are however not ‘environmentally restored’…they’re just cleaned up and the city councils have learned to be more ‘responsible’ and made those areas pleasant and economically viable.

    Same goes for the GBR. We have become way more responsible about this natural resource. But as Jen has pointed out many times, we need to understand the real issues and not go off into reactive, irrational emotional tantrums about AGW or last century mistakes that have long been mitigated and managed or spurious and ubsubstantiated comments about native species.
    There’s nothing like a sad picture of a dead fish or turtle to set everybody off into irrational and emotional tantrums.
    It is particularly successful when they are combined with old hat, last century arguments.
    It is a tried and true formula that is almost guarranteed to lift Getup membership.
    Will it however achieve good outcomes for Gladstone?

  17. Marc November 8, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Dear debbie. Interesting retort. A question for you and others – what constitutes a good outcome for Gladstone (and more broadly the GBR)? And who’s view of what a ‘good outcome’ is, takes precedence? Furthermore, a ‘good outcome’ is time subjective – is it 5 years, 10 years, 50 years or beyond? Apply a high enough discount rate to it and a good outcome can look wonderful in the short term! Long-term thinking is something else as a society ‘we’ are not good at and is clearly reflected in the majority of views expressed on this site.

  18. Susan November 8, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Just because GetUp! was wrong on the River Murray campaign does not mean they got it wrong on this one. I agree with the GetUp! Campaign on this reef issue.

    I recognized the government and scientific tap dance in the 4 Corners video as the same one that’s happening around the Lower Lakes whenever you mention opening the barrages and restoring the Lakes to estuaries.

    At least there was the voice of reason from the World Heritage people.

    Flying from Gladstone in a helicopter to Heron Island a few years ago was magical. Even then the industrialized nature of that city so close to the GBR was a worry. Does anyone really think you can put an industrial plant that large, modifying the harbour that much, and not cause permanent and lasting damage?

    International tourists are not going to spend money to come and see no turtles, no dugongs, and silt covered dead coral. And even the visual amenity of seeing the industrialized nature of these cities so close to the GBR is going to affect the experience.

  19. debbie November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I think a good outcome needs to recognise reality.
    ‘Long term thinking’ sounds admirable but it immediately assumes that we are absolute ‘know it alls’ and would not need any new information and we can set our plans and policies in concrete.
    Can you confidently predict 5 years, 10 years, 50 years or beyond? If you can, then you need to be in charge of everything because as far as I know there is no one alive who could do that.
    There are plenty who pretend they can.
    That mindset also allows people to ask ridiculous rhetorical questions that sound noble and very intelligent but have no basis in current reality.
    The world of humans or the ‘environment’ does not work like that Marc. You actually pointed that out yourself when you questioned Jennifer.
    If we are going to achieve anything successful we have to work with what we have.
    We all need to make decisions on the best ‘realistic’ information we possess and then be smart enough to realise that those decisions and those actions may need to adjusted when future events, inventions, knowledge, variables etc inevitably alter the game.
    We are going to make mistakes, but we are also capable of fixing them.
    Your position and your argument assumes we can confidently predict the future.
    We can make an educated guess….but that is the best we can do.
    Re : the definition of a ‘good outcome’…once again your argument assumes something theoretical and very unfortunately that some type of ‘mutually exclusive’ power game is necessary.
    I am guessing for you it is environmental outcomes vs human civilization outcomes???
    Maybe we can do better than that and recognize that both have merits and that sometimes we need to compromise and work on ‘shared goals’.
    We have started to get some good ‘runs on the board’ regarding this. That includes totally altered urban environments.
    Typically, reactive behaviour from ‘both sides’ and our totally variable climate have successfully stopped other sensible projects that would probably satisfy ‘shared goals and outcomes’.
    I realise it’s far from perfect…but neither humans or the environment are perfect either.
    Unless you posses some type of magic crystal ball that can predict the future,your argument, if followed logically, will just stop us all from doing anything much at all.
    The real danger is there will be loads of noble talk and little practical walk.

  20. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm #


    The Gladstone harbour has been a substantial development for many decades and has always been planned for bigger things. This new area is part of the old harbour that was always intended for development and because of this has been in a state of degredation for a long time.

    If you took that same flight today you wouldn’t notice much difference.

    4 Corners neglected to mention that this development was always part of the deal with World Heritage.

    There is a good chance that the environmental quality of the harbour will improve as a result of this development, just as Moreton Bay has improved environmentally in many ways in recent years with the new port.

  21. Luke November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    ” just as Moreton Bay has improved environmentally in many ways in recent years with the new port.”

    cough cough cough – oh yea?

    Until it flooded – and how much “recent” improvement was low flow years, enhanced sewage plants, and major catchment management.

  22. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Luke baby,

    Remember Brisbane’s raw sewage running into the river at Luggage Pt. The story was if you fell out of the boat while fishing there [and people did and caught plenty{diseases?}] you couldn’t swim but you went through the motions…

    I worked at the Bulwer Is terminal in those days and whenever you bunkered a ship you called the dredge to deepen the river. The spoil was promptly dumped in the bay and ended up on all the bay beaches and consequently dugong did not exist in the bay at all. They do now!

  23. debbie November 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    With absolute respect….
    I admire the work you have done in SA re the Murray Mouth and would always choose to defer to the judgement of someone like you who is a LOCAL and who has done the local research as well as studied the scientific information.
    We all have our opinions and we’re all easily swayed when it is NOT our LOCAL environment.
    Marc also pointed out the human tendency to be ‘reactive’ rather than well informed.
    We need to listen to the Gladstone ‘Susans’ who understand that sensible outcomes can be achieved without the need to use emotional and bi polar environmental arguments.
    I’m sure they exist in Gladstone.

  24. Bill Burrows November 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    For my sins I was born in Gladstone 70 years ago. I grew up and went to school there until 1960. My Father and Uncles had lived in Gladstone since the 1920’s. Until well into the 1970’s my family also owned and operated a ‘prickle farm’ on the Calliope River, which flows into Gladstone Harbour. My present home overlooks Keppel Bay which is on the northern side of Curtis Island – the construction site of the dreaded CSG plants. I see the lights of Gladstone each night as I sit on the front deck enjoying an evening coffee.

    My old man and his brothers were recreational fishermen (who wasn’t, who had access to the harbour those days?). The old man meshed fishing nets in his spare time and they were regularly borrowed my townsfolk to catch blue salmon or barramundi – depending on the mesh size. Nets were legal in that era. As a boy I had a couple of equally keen fishing mates and we would spend at least one night on a weekend catching prawns and crabs in ‘Dillies” on the shallow side of Gladstone’s main export wharf and fishing for salmon and barra on the deep side. Most weekends we potted about the harbour fishing in the old man’s bondwood dinghy(s). Our parents would have had a fit if they knew where we ventured to.

    Anyway between the Auckland Point wharf and Barney Point (where a new jetty and coal loader was constructed) there was a huge area of mudflat. Further, the size of the bulk carriers rapidly increased in concert with the expanding coal trade, and it was found necessary to dredge the harbour to accommodate these behemoths. So dredging commenced and has continued on and off ever since. The huge area of mud flats north of Barney Point was filled in with the material dredged from the harbour. Likewise an equally huge area of mud flat north of Auckland Creek was filled in to provide more coal export terminals.

    I am unaware of any of the current spots and lesions on barramundi reported in the Four Corners program appearing after any previous dredging episode in the Harbour over the previous 40 years. In fact the fishermen interviewed in the program seemed to confirm this. So to me it is unlikely that the current dredging is the cause of the spots and lesions. It is also unprecedented that the harbour’s barra population had tens of thousands of large fish added to its pool, as a consequence of the extended overflow of the (comparatively recently) heavily stocked Awoonga Dam, earlier this year. As someone with a PhD in environmental biology I would certainly be looking at all possible disease organisms as the catalyst for the present symptoms.

    I continue my life long love of fishing. Each year (since 2002) I join a charter boat out of Gladstone taking a group of us to the Swain Reefs. In the past 2 years I have also been kindly invited to join cruises of one and two week duration fishing and sight seeing along the southern Bunker group and the western Swain reef areas, as well as nearby coastal estuaries. Please forgive me for saying so, but it’s ‘God’s Own Country’ and I’m a very lucky b……!

    Given this background I would like to share two (hopefully informed) opinions with you:
    (1) The Reef ain’t stuffed from past dredging events and I suggest it is unlikely to be from the present dredging
    (2) The Gladstone Harbour barra were not affected (to the extent of current symptoms) by past dredging, so I strongly believe that present dredging is not the causal agent for the present spots and lesions.

    To paraphrase recent comments noted on the blogosphere “History didn’t begin the day you were born”. Proponents of environmental armaggedon need to check out our past written history and talk to “grandfathers” and “great-grandfathers” if they happen to have them, or adopt someone else’s if they have none of their own. You just don’t know the wit and wisdom you might discover.

  25. jennifer November 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    By chance I’m in Gladstone today. Page 1 of the local paper, The Observer, is about ‘Grandparents come out of retirement for family’. Page 5 has two stories about the reports of sick and dying marine life. The first story ‘Fishing tourists stay away’ quotes Johnny Mitchell who runs Lake Awoonga Guided Barra Fishing Tours saying nobody is running chartered fishing tours on the harbour at the moment because clients are worried about all the unknowns. So he’s taken “a full-time job”. [There is no shortage of work in Central Queensland at the moment]. The other story is entitled ‘Harbour fish crisis leaves reef charter high and dry’ with Joe McGuire from Gladstone Chartered Fishing and Ecotours saying that he normally operates beyond the harbour in the Great Barrier Reef proper. So “you would think that made his business immune from the controversy facing the harbour, but unfortunately that’s not how it works”. The story goes on to explain how there is no business for anyone with a fishing charter business “because of all the negative stuff getting out about Gladstone”.

  26. cohenite November 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    It’s probably because I just glanced at Unleashed/Drum, the site of the 99% and other assorted bludgers, parasites, malcontents and wankers, but Marc’s insinuations and thinly veiled misanthropy resonated; Marc refers to:

    “one species’”

    What’s the matter Marc, can’t you say humanity; or does the loathing at that term produce too much bile?

    And “tipping points”; what are those Marc? Do you mean what is going to happen to the greens/alp at the next election?

  27. jennifer November 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    PS According to yesterday’s newspaper ‘The Observer’: In July commercial fishermen became increasingly anxious about their right to compensation for loss of income caused by the dredging project. Apparently the Gladstone Ports Authority and Fisheries Queensland were at odds with the industry over how much, if at all, dredging was impacting the industry. (page 5)

    By September there was evidence of an outbreak of red spot disease. There is no consensus within the commercial or recreational fishing industry as to the cause of the disease.

  28. Bill Burrows November 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Jennifer – May I suggest while you are in Gladstone you ruminate on what would be the likely biological effect of adding 300 tonnes of barramundi into the confines of that outstandingly beautiful harbour. Apparently that is what happened when the Awoonga dam overflowed last summer. Commercial fishing catches skyrocketed from the same effort, yet there is still an estimated 100+ t of barra unaccounted for. They would still be strongly impacting on the original harbour barra stocks, as well as themselves and their feed sources. The take of barra EACH month in the harbour this year (up until the ban) exceeded the annual take for each of the previous 5 years. QED? I hypothesize that the barra “problem” will disappear once the monthly catch returns to its pre-Awoonga Dam flush levels.

  29. John Sayers November 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Thank you for that information Bill – very enlightening.

  30. debbie November 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I agree Bill,
    Very enlightening. Thank you for offering your experienced local perspective on this issue.

  31. ianl8888 November 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    >What would you know matey. The whole industry is called coal seam gas even by the coal seam gas industry. Funny that.<

    There goes the geological ignoramus Resident Dipstick again

    It's METHANE, CH4, you utter nincompoop, natural gas. The source here is gassy coal seams, but the gas is exactly the same irrespective of source. The mining industry differentiates sources for obvious practical reasons, but not the energy markets it sells into

    Hunter is right – naming it "coal seam" gas is Greenie propaganda – like calling the tax on CO2 emissions a "price on carbon" … despicable

  32. gavin November 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Guys; please be civil and get your terms right up front.


  33. Hasbeen November 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Susan I’m glad you enjoyed your flight out to Heron.

    What you have to realise that you were merely touching one of a few outlying southern outposts of the Great Barrier Reef. That far south it is no longer a barrier reef, just a few scattered reefs. Fortunately for Gladstone they are rather lovely outposts, but you did not see very much of the reef.

    The reef stretches another 1500 miles, yes, further than from Melbourne to Brisbane, to the north from there. Now I don’t know where you come from, but to stop the people of Queensland running export ports for the length of the reef is the same as demanding the closure of Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane ports, because the ports may dirty the east coast current.

    People have a right to earn a living, & as mentioned elsewhere, this harbour as been built over many years in what was mostly mudflat & mangrove. Gladstone is a lucky area, as it’s reef is well off shore, where a little dredging will never be felt.

    The reef is out there because the local rivers, & the Fitzroy, from the northern end of Curtis Island pour out much more sediment in any flood than this little bit of disturbance will cause.

    Even more importantly, they pour out vast volumes of fresh water, a thing that is much more damaging to coral than a bit of mud.

    I have navigated into places where the coastline was so little known, that it was shown as a dotted line on the chart. When I wanted access through a coral reef all I had to do was find the largest river/stream, & I knew there would be access. Coral can’t survive regular fresh water, particularly in the volumes that the Fitzroy pumps out in a big wet.

    So Susan, stop worrying about the reef in general, & Heron in particular, nature has prepared the way for us to build Gladstone harbor, without damaging it in any way.

  34. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm #


    There are better sources of info than Wikipedia:

    “Coal seam methane refers to the source of the methane, but the gas is indistinguishable from conventional natural gas. Methane is the primary constituent of conventional natural gas and of CSM.”

  35. gavin November 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Each one should clearly state whoz side they are on, miners, processors, shippers, dredgers, chiefs and guests…

    After ABC last night, I’m with the fishermen. Last week I spent a few hours chatting with casual fishermen down the South Coast, NSW.

    Not one fish the whole time despite their great weather!

  36. Another Ian November 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm #


    O?T but

    Luke, what is this CATERing to mulga country?

  37. gavin November 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    SD: While watching tonight’s ABC, I’m recalling my own exposure to gasses, ores, crystals etc from underground. They are hardly ever uniform in their raw state and apart from basic concentration, that’s why we process them prior to shipping. Porous rocks contain cocktails sometimes with all manner of elements present. Our first natural gas plant built locally with overseas technology was one big eye opener in terms of what it had to do in product stability.

    Last week I also chatted by the shore with a guy who had weeks to go. He was only recently diagnosed with a rare meso form. Our only clue; he was a painter.

    The risk of residues is extremely important. After a shower of fluffy white crystals from an iron ore conveyor hit me in high winds, I was told by a friend, just one fiber of asbestos penetrating any part of our body could start a tumor that could take years to grow out. My neighbor was the supervising engineer of a very large civil mining/construction project and he swore about a pocket sample I was carrying from a closed green asbestos mine nearby. At that time, mid 70’s, I was somewhat skeptical of the harm one fiber could do.

  38. spangled drongo November 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    gav, you can imagine all sorts of horror scenarios if you have a mind.

    This is the game the greenies love to play.

    The fact is natural gas is a fantastic resource and we could be running all our vehicles on it instead of selling it for a pittance. It’s probably one of the safest sources of energy there is and the world is swimming in it.

    I’d hate to be around a green if his arse was on fire.

  39. gavin November 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Aaaah; SD reckons it’s a frac job for everybody!

  40. cohenite November 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    SMH poll on the carbon Tax:


    gavin is confused about natural gas; it’s all methane with varying quantities of bupane, propane etc. It is found primarily in rock structures, coal, shale and sandstone; really only shale requires fracking due to its hardness. Anyway it’s good stuff as long as they take care around the water and food; the poor farmers are being hoodwinked by the greens who are lying to them to get them onside against the coal and gas companies; as soon as the coal and gas are gone the greens will turn on the farmers.

  41. John Sayers November 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Yes Cohenite – in the lefty SMH – I’d like to see a similar poll in the Australian.

  42. gavin November 9, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    yes, the poor farmers (and others) are being hoodwinked by a few here

    Listening to a regular on Sunday who declared again that he is a sceptic, I got the same old rhetoric but try as he might, very little was original. The usual fill begins with Gillard or Government.

    Another acquaintance probably worked with the ENV assessment process so we don’t chat about that but I gather it all takes a while to get that port approval in place

  43. spangled drongo November 9, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    What the gas drillers are doing and being forced to do in some cases is buy the properties, install the infrastructure, get it all up and running with the roads and wells in place and then dispose of the still well functioning property.

    This saves them having to pay rental on the sites plus a whole lot of greenie grief and the end result is the same.

    It would be a better outcome for all if the infrastructure was done through negotiation with the farmer collecting the rent.

  44. spangled drongo November 9, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    gav, do you think asbestos was a set-back for humanity?

  45. gavin November 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    SD; since having used many forms of asbestos in engineering, it would be hypocricital for me to condem it outright now. There were fibro cement sheets everywhere too and a lot of that was already in the rotten state after years of service as cladding probably dating back to WW2 projects.

    My contribution was mainly around steam joints and large pump glands where a lubricated harden rope was cut and bent into C sections. But paste called Flexicement became my speciality in replacing red Stag and wire mesh reinforced solid gasket sheets. I even used it at home direct on 4 machined cylinder head or manifold surfaces and such a wonder it was. All flanges on seperation had this silky smooth feel that was easily brushed off. Cleaning brake drums was another routine.

    About the difference between trades, I normally held my breath while disturbing dust and fibers. Overalls stayed at work. Also; I never smoked and one or two seniors early on consistently raised doubts about lads launching shortcuts.

  46. Neville November 10, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    This O/T I know, but this level of corruption involving western dills and the world’s biggest emitter should be understood by everyone.


  47. spangled drongo November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Yes, gav, I worked with blue asbestos too. Fire-rating steel beams in commercial buildings, mixing it with epoxy in boat building, stag-jointing pipes, making my own competition brake pads, fire proofing dangerous areas etc. And smoked.

    It always saved a lot more lives in deadly situations than it ever took but that is not how things are assesed any more.

    And it’s drawing a long bow to compare it with natural gas.

    It’s more like smoking. Depending how you frame the argument. Nobody ever says that people who smoke usually live a productive, hard working, law-abiding life and drop dead early in retirement thereby providing society with mostly benefit and little cost. The “experts” always extrapolate that the cost is enormous compared with the benefit. I fail to see that side of the argument.

    “Meanwhile, Greens’ Senator Larissa Waters says she will introduce a second motion today to stop dredging in the harbour.

    She moved a motion in the Senate yesterday, calling for federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to immediately stop all dredging in the harbour until an assessment of the coal seam gas industry is completed by UNESCO.

    It was voted down.”

    Yeah, let’s just shut everything down!

  48. spangled drongo November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am #



  49. Stewie November 10, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Sorry to but in but……..
    Jennifer you mentioned earlier on this post re Great Keppel Island that,

    ‘No-one visits the place anymore and the walking tracks are becoming overrun with invasive weeds.’

    That is sad.

    My uncle, his buisness partner, my dad and others purchased Great Keppel Island way back and developed a campaign called ‘Get wrecked on Keppel’. I remember it being discussed around the house and in the backyard. It turned the dilapidated island resort around. A lot of time and money (and risk) was put into it. I think Mum and Dads house was put up as collateral. Uncle put experienced people in charge who were friendly and genuine. Click it all worked and Keppel became a success story. The Svensons(?) were living on the island at the time. Had a lot of friends at school for awhile who got cheap holidays.

    A lot of work went into that place. And now its………. Wrecked.

  50. darren November 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    In response to Jon from W.A and his lack of research skills.

    From the courier mail 7/11/11
    The Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has approvals to dredge 46 million cubic metres – the equivalent volume of 27 Melbourne Cricket Grounds – from within the harbour boundaries, inside the World Heritage area, over the next 20 years.

    Reported as the same figure as GET UP’s information. No claims as you say, just facts it seems. I bit of research on your part will make your arguement a great more plausable.

  51. Julian Braggins November 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Gavin, Spangled Drongo,
    I too was exposed to blue and long fibre asbestos from an early age. Also smoked from an early age (12), came across a survey that found an inverse relationship to smoking and Meso. a few years ago, so being a few months off my 9th decade decided not to give it up. ;))
    Played in mounds of asbestos boiler lagging as a four or five year old, wound asbestos rope on exhaust pipes as a teenager, blew out brake drum dust, cut sheets of fibro with a hand groover for months as a thirty year old and put up fibro buildings in my 40’s.

    As Louis Pasteur said on his deathbed, referring to Beauchamp, “I was wrong, the terrain is everything”
    Beauchamp, for those who don’t know the story, didn’t believe in the germ theory as such, and deliberately swallowed a dose of cholera laden water. He did not become ill, possibly because he had a tapeworm, that gives immunity to cholera ! Pasteur of course was the great proponent of the germ theory.

  52. Julian Braggins November 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    As I meant to say, I have a son living on Curtis Island who does quite a bit of wildlife photography there, http://www.panoramio.com/user/2959603 and runs a 40ft S.V. Sea Angel, and helps with the recording of the annual turtle nest logging.
    I’ll see if he has any input to effects of dredging, none reported yet.

  53. spangled drongo November 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Good stuff and good health to you. I think it’s some sort of hormetic effect that gets your DNA etc working. I subjected myself to all sorts of deadly poisons, strychnine, arsenic, dioxins, [as a kid was required to dive underwater in sheep and cattle dip to clear the blocked valves] and only in recent years have I succumbed to an epoxy allergy.

    So far so good.

  54. spangled drongo November 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I recall sailing into Gladstone harbour in the mid ’70s in my Chinese junk-type vessel and the Customs going through the boat for drugs.

    The narrows, behind Curtis Is. was a great place for catching muddies and the cattle used to walk across at low tide.

  55. jennifer November 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    From: GetUp!
    Date: 10 November 2011 1:23:55 PM AEDT
    Subject: re: Great Barrier Reef under threat
    Reply-To: info@getup.org.au

    Just 3 days ago we sent out an emergency call to action. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area ecosystem is in crisis: millions of cubic metres of sea floor is being dredged up to make way for the expansion of coal seam gas export facilities.

    GetUp members have responded to the call in force – so far 41,870 people have added their name to the petition calling for an immediate halt to all dredging in the Gladstone Harbour and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area1.

    We’re aiming to reach 75,000 signatures before we take this campaign global and have the petition delivered to UNESCO* in Paris!

    Can you join the petition now, and let your friends and family know about this campaign by forwarding the message below?

    Thanks for being part of this,
    The GetUp team.

    * The United Nations’ Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which is responsible for protecting world heritage listed sites like the Great Barrier Reef.

    PS – In breaking news, late yesterday the NSW Labor Opposition reversed their stance on coal seam gas and joined calls for a ban on all new coal seam gas operations – but we urgently need their federal counterparts to follow suit. Click here to add your name to this urgent petition before it’s delivered to UNESCO.

  56. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Yes Jen, according to the totalitarians we just dont need any fossil fuels:

    “Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday defended his environment spokeswoman, Larissa Waters, who said on Wednesday that studies showed Australia could be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy within a decade.”

    Senator Brown told ABC radio Senator Waters was “simply stating what is possible”.

  57. Meg November 11, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    I love the way we’ve gone from being a self-sufficient and recources rich country to one that absolutely bends to the wishes of every overseas opportunist country wishing to take all they can get out of the place. Coal seam gas is a curse and a blot on the landscape and seascape as in the case of the Great Barrier Reef. I cannot believe we have all this legislation passed so that we can fire up all these so called gas electricity plants by using a product which has questionable methods from which it is obtained. We have no idea what damage this will do to our environment.
    Where I live in the Southern Highlands trickery and fraudulent methods are being used to con farmers and landowners into believing that a legitimate rural business is making the purchase when in actual fact it is an overseas company buying up precious Australian land for money-grabbing dirty scumbag coal seam gas mines. Wake up Queensland you are being taken for a ride. Your whole state thrives on tourism. I tell you, when these beautiful places are blotted with mile high mountains of dirty filthy sludge and your waterways and beaches are polluted with all this activity, there won’t be a fool for miles coming to visit your tourist destinations. Already, it turns me off ever coming to visit the place as I don’t want to see what is already in my state of NSW that I try to get away from. Queensland you have been conned that this is going to be the best thing since sliced bread. Gillard’s government are a bunch of hypocrites and that premier you’ve got is just stupid.

  58. John Sayers November 11, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    “simply stating what is possible”

    That’s because they’ve all been taken in by the beyond zero emissions mob.


    It’s a total scam. They are talking about 40% of all our power from wind and the remaining by solar thermal


    these plants produce 50MW each but for only 13 hours per day with salt heat storage.

    Yet the whole of zero emissions proposal is based on this technology.

    they’re dreamin!

    Good to hear that energy Minister Martin Ferguson has slammed the Greens as “living in fantasy land” for proposing that we eliminate fossil fuels within 10 years.

  59. John Sayers November 11, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Interesting that Allan Jones backed the 4 corners program on the dredging at Gladstone.

    He apparently hasn’t heard the story of the additional fish that Marion Wilkinson conveniently left out of her report.

  60. Neville November 11, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    O/T again but Bolt will have climate comissioner Will Steffen as a guest on the Bolt Report on Sunday channel 10 at 10am. Later on youtube.

    Last time they spoke on radio Steffen claimed that China was the great green saviour for the planet.
    Bolt disagreed and told him that the facts proved China’s emissions were soaring through the roof which of course we’ve all been reminded of again this last week.

    I just hope that Bolt sticks to the facts and nails him on this fraudulent, deceitful co2 tax and the easily understood CON/LIE of AGW mitigation.

  61. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    John, the govt should sponsor this zero emissions group to live off-grid for a year on wind/solar at a price they nominate they can afford.

    After 1 year they should then be asked if that was satisfactory or would they need a better system [at an increased price which they would have to pay].

    It would be a great study in social engineering prior to inflicting it on the suffering multitude and would give politicians a better grasp on reality.

  62. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 8:30 am #


    It should also be a condition that the back-up generator for the off-grid system be made as noisy as possible so that they are all aware how much it has to run.

  63. John Sayers November 11, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    The zero emissions mob took Tony Windsor to Spain to see the Torresol plants. He was most impressed <rolleyes}

  64. cohenite November 11, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Zero Emissions, BZE, has been thoroughly debunked:



    Diesendorf has attempted to respond to these:


    Note that Diesendorf claims that BZE’s cost of total replacement with renewables by 2020 is only $370 billion. The critiques of BZE show a cost range of between $800 billion and $4 TRILLION! As well the critiques show that BZE’s plan would require a drop in power consumption of 50% by 2007 standards; on a per capita basis, with population increase by 2020 [all those boat people] the drop in power consumption would be more than 60%!

    In Diesnedorf’s revision he uses more types of renewables than BZE; he says:

    “We chose a broader energy mix than ZCA: first-generation CST with thermal storage, wind, solar PV, gas turbines and existing hydro – all commercially available technologies. Gas turbines, which are like jet engines, are highly flexible generating plants ideally suited to supporting fluctuating renewable generation. Some are already being deployed in Australia. They could initially be fuelled on natural gas, however this could be replaced with liquid biofuels produced sustainably from the residues of existing crops.” [CST is concentrating solar thermal]

    This is high level crap; since none of these energy types are commercially available ANYWHERE by simply increasing the number of different types of renewables the total cost of BZE would increase for no increase in base-load power delivery.

  65. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    As Bertrand Russel said the real problem is that clever people are so full of doubts while fools are always so certain.

  66. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    What GetUp aspire to:

    * Although it came as a revelation to Professor Markham, beneath the surface of Germany’s 9,000 “mainstream” enviro-organizations lurks a huge sub-movement that can only be described as Neo-Nazi. Markham concludes this sub-movement retains the potential to take over the entire movement.


  67. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm #


    Also in SEQ/NNSW we have not had a cyclone cross the coast in 35 years whereas prior to that we got up to 6 per year.

    Doesn’t really tie-in with all that extra ACO2.

  68. spangled drongo November 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    But you always know that will never stop our Jim:


  69. Julian Braggins November 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    From my son Gary on Curtis Island, no dead aquatic life has shown up , water is crystal clear even on the Gladstone Harbour beaches where he has had his grandchildren playing in the water.

    The seagrass has recovered and the annual coral spawning is proceeding as normal, and the local coral reefs off Curtis Island are fine.

    Nothing to see, move along.

    Spangled drongo, Yes, Gary spent a few weeks anchored up a creek in the narrows, the muddies are still there.

  70. Jon at WA November 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    ‘Reported as the same figure as GET UP’s information. No claims as you say, just facts it seems. I bit of research on your part will make your arguement a great more plausable’

    Love to Help Darren,
    but to quote the Courier mail and ‘Getup’ (Isn’t ‘Getup’ a church of well meaning but slightly naive lost souls looking for a cause, whilst being fleeced of their souls and shekels by the 12 apostles / snake-oil salesmen?) as reliable sources when all I was offering were observations that are as plain as the nose on your face is a little off the scale of reality. Ever been to Auckland Creek or through the narrows?
    Apart from having stated the obvious, read ‘Great Barrier Reef: Terrigenous Sediment Flux and Human Impacts’ published by Reef Research Centre, might put your 32 MCG’s in perspective particlarly when talking about dredging / reclaimation.
    A little more research for your clergy, how many tonnes of acid sulphate sediment would need to be excavated, dried, then leeeched into the Curtis channel to affect the pH of this growing tidal compartment outside the normal variation with photosynthesis? In MCG’s please!

  71. debbie November 16, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I have to agree with Jon,
    Those figures need to be put into perspective with the actual research.
    The Press Release has just used the age old trick of ‘sensationalism’.
    27 cricket grounds? Inside the World Heritage Area?
    Perspective (including the 20 years statement) indicates that there is an agreement with World Heritage and the 27 cricket grounds worth of sediment over 20 years is not an alarming amount of dredging…..if you want to average that figure over 20 years what do you get?
    As Jon also points out, the actual amount of contamination over this time period needs to be matched with normal parameters that create contamination anyway.
    A better question to ask is: Why is Getup trying to sensationalise this issue?


  1. Brown and Gillard’s ‘crazy’ respected scientists… | pindanpost - November 8, 2011

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