The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected stage two of the Port Hinchinbrook development, Environment Minister Desley Boyle said today.
Stage Two is in addition to the controversial existing development approved in 1994 and is adjacent to important coastal wetlands and the world heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island.
"The proponents want to build a 26 hectare artificial waterway, 335 residential lots, a 60 room motel, and an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse beside this sensitive area.
"The EPA found the proposed development poses an unacceptable risk to the high environmental and conservation values of this land which has been earmarked for national park.
"It contains significant coastal wetlands, significant coastal dune systems and endangered regional ecosystems that were identified in the Cardwell-Hinchinbrook Regional Coastal Management Plan," Ms Boyle said.
"There are also serious concerns about the work that would take place to construct the development. The area has already been cleared and construction work could lead to acid sulphate soil disturbance, water quality impacts, erosion, and salinity problems.
The developer had applied to Cardwell Shire Council for a Material Change of Use of land in the Coastal Management District.
The application was assessed under the provisions of the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995, State Coastal Plan and the Cardwell-Hinchinbrook Regional Coastal Management Plan.
"This Act and the coastal plans were developed to ensure protection of important coastal environmental values and did not exist when stage one was approved.
"The Cardwell Hinchinbrook coastal area is a special part of Queensland and there has been significant public disquiet over development activity impacting on those natural values.
"There was significant controversy when stage one was developed.
"The EPA's decision has taken place under new laws that have been developed in response to community concern.
"Our coasts and wetlands are precious and we should do everything we can to protect them," Ms Boyle said.
The EPA's refusal does not take effect until Cardwell Shire Council, as assessment manager, makes its decision.
At that time the applicant is able to appeal this decision in the Planning and Environment Court.
Media contact: Mark Symons 3227 8825 or 0419 025 326
Carissa Mason 3227 6424 or 0417 782 865
29 September 2005
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