Monday, 25 July 2016

Iluka hall packed for information night on the risks of large scale port dredging

No-one moved as they listened to Dr. Matt Landos

The community hall in Iluka filled quickly and it was standing room only when around 162 people gathered on the night of 21 July 2016 to hear Dr. Matt Landos give a talk on the effects of large scale port dredging on marine environments using Port of Gladstone, within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area as an example** and, explain what the as yet unrealised proposal to industrialise the Clarence River estuary might mean for the environment, local communities, tourism and the commercial fishing fleet.

Aboriginal elder Elizabeth Smith gave the Welcome to County and briefly spoke of how the elders were against this mega port plan.

Residents from Iluka, Yamba, Harwood, Grafton and elsewhere along the river sat intently listening for almost two hours as the potential risks were laid before them.

The response to this information predominately ranged from increased concern though to shock and outrage.

Here are some quotes from the Facebook page No Yamba Mega Port:

People talking in groups as organisers pack up the chairs at the end of the night
Photograph: Debrah Novak 

Further information:


The Daily Examiner, 25 July 2016:

STORM OVER PORT: The crowd at the Iluka Community Hall meeting listens to concerns about plans for a major port development at Yamba.

ANY attempt to build a mega port on the Clarence River estuary will meet a similar show of community strength to the one that stopped CSG mining here, says community activist Ian Gaillard.

Mr Gaillard was among a crowd of 162 who packed into the Community Hall at Iluka to hear an address from marine scientist Dr Matt Landos about what they can expect if a development of that size goes ahead in the Clarence estuary…..

Mr Gaillard said sedimentation, acid sulphate and heavy metals disturbed by dredging were key contributing factors to the loss of water quality, sea grass beds and mangroves.

Dr Landos said if the port development went ahead the dredging would be ongoing and that movements of massive ships in the port would also create major problems.

These would include pollution from paints and anti-foul, fuel and oil contamination as well as the introduction of pests from other parts of the world.

Mr Gaillard said people needed to be alert to the possibilities, although he did gain some comfort from statements from political figures who have dismissed the project.

"But I think that if they can get their project up as something of state significance it could appeal to the government we've got in Sydney at the moment," Mr Gaillard said.

"They've had one attempt and failed but they're not going away."

Meetings are planned for Yamba and other communities along the Clarence this year.

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