THE State Government has taken another step towards finalising the Abbot Point expansion project with studies for an environmental impact statement beginning Thursday last week.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said the EIS would take six to nine months, with a 20 business-day public consultation period - highlighting this was twice the duration offered by the previous government.
"The Palaszczuk government intended for the project to follow due process... unlike the former government who tried to rush through a project which would have harmed the Caley Valley Wetlands without proper scrutiny," he said.
Queensland Resources Council acting chief executive Greg Lane welcomed the announcement of the EIS.
"While activists will continue to rail against the development of coal mines, I'm pleased to see that the Queensland Government will base its decision on the expansion on science. Like the government, we know that you can protect the environment, while providing the resources needed by an energy hungry world," he said.
The State Government claims the expansion will create around 120 jobs over a four month period.
Despite opposition from environmental groups, Dr Lynham said it was possible to have these jobs, the expansion and a healthy Great Barrier Reef.
"This government is committed to a balanced approach to protecting the environment and delivering vital infrastructure," he said.
"There's no question about it, Queensland can have this vital port infrastructure and a vibrant Great Barrier Reef - the findings of the EIS will show us the best way to achieve this."
Dr Lynham also pointed out the EIS would not come out of taxpayers' pocket.
"The full cost of the EIS will be paid for by mine proponent Adani, not taxpayers," he said.
The EIS will investigate the flow-on effects of the proposed dredging of 61ha of seabed, the social and economic impacts of the expansion, any possible impacts on marine and terrestrial flora and fauna as well as the management of cultural heritage in consultation with the Juru traditional owners.
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