In December 2013 the Liberal National Government of Australia, headed by Tony Abbot, approved to dredge 3 million cubic metres of the Great Barrier Reef in order to expand the port facilities in Point Abbot.
The Port, just 50 Kms north of the Tourist haven that constitutes the Whitsunday Islands will become one of the world's biggest coal ports.
The balance has been tipped towards coal, in total disregard for the tourism industry and a unique environment, despite the sharp deflation of coal prices worldwide. The expansion of the port will encroach into the territory of the vulnerable green and flat-back turtles, which only live in Northern Queensland.
The future of the Great Barrier Reef, a categorised World Heritage Area by UNESCO, is on the cards. Part of the decision was based on misinformation. The decision of the Environment Minister Greg Hunt was: "the project area (dredging area) is not a notable or significant biodiversity site in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area". And then the Minister continued his statements with a contradiction, saying habitats are expected to recover.
The Abbot administration expects coal exports to increase six-fold by the end of the decade, which means the marine environment is not only under threat because of dredging, but will also be affected by a sharp increase in shipping in the pristine environment.