Tuesday June 27, 2017

Just What Is Up With Gladstone Port?

Written by David Marler
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Nothing Going On In Gladstone Port or Something More Sinister?


Since dredging of 46 million cubic metres of silt began in Gladstone harbour, local fishermen have protested against the action sighting fish deaths and disease from the practice.

The project began with the Bligh Government and has continued with the Newman Government. Both have denied that dredging has caused the death of fish in the area.

However, within months of coming to power, Premier Newman appointed LNP connected Mark Brodie to the position of chair of Gladstone Ports Corporation in June of 2012, replacing incumbent Ian Brusasco, Port Boss Sacked Over Budget.

Daniel Hurst from the Brisbane Times gave insight into his replacement, LNP connected Mark Brodie, Labor-Linked Chief Replaced With LNP Connection.

In this most recent of political appointments, we ask is there something more sinister occurring in the Newman Government to influence testing results?

In October 2012, The Punch's John Mikkelsen reported on the problem in Something’s Really Fishy In The Gladstone Waters

UNESCO has long had concerns for the Great Barrier Reef as Terry Hughes at The Conversation points out New Marine Reserves Won’t Address UNESCO’s Reef Concerns.


Brodie manages a swag of different chairs, including the Mayor Newman instigated City Of Brisbane Investment Corporation (future fund) which is down 2% this last financial year with $3.4 million paid out in director's & administration fees. You can get a full list of other chairs and boards he's on here Gladstone Ports Corporation Board Of Directors.

Graeme Quirk is now the Brisbane Lord Mayor having succeeded Campbell Newman when he resigned to become leader of the LNP. Under Quirk, Brodie was involved in serving on the Lord Mayors Business Round Table and also Chairman of the Greater Brisbane Area Consultative Committee. Brodie's son, Matt ran unsuccessfully for election in the Brisbane City Council elections of 2012 for the ward of Tennyson.

Environment Minister, Andrew Powell, had his department carry out the latest study into fish deaths and sickness in Gladstone and found no evidence of any link to the dredging. Water Quality 'Not To Blame' For Sick Fish In Gladstone Harbour.

Powell is well known for his statements on climate change, believing it is occurring, but is sceptical that it is caused by human intervention, Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell Is A Climate Change Sceptic. Perhaps he's not the best person to be involved in the study or in such a portfolio as the Environment.

As recently as November 2012, chemical company Orica was caught discharging cyanide into the Gladstone Harbour and fined $432,000. It was also ordered to pay $53,000 in legal and investigation costs. A pittance for a multi-national organisation but it seems almost impossible to belive that Powell's Environmental Department study found no traces of this either. Orica Fined For Cyanide Pollution.

However, high levels of zinc and copper were found in the waters when an independent study of the harbour was commissioned by the Gladstone seafood industry. Gladstone harbour is a coal seam gas export hub. Disturbing tonnes of harbour floor is blamed for the high levels of metals. The Gladstone Ports Authority has always denied that dredging has caused any deaths or disease in fish.

With the arrival of the Newman Government, development on multiple levels across the state is a high priority and environmental laws are being watered down.  By instilling LNP members or sympathisers like Brodie along the Queensland coast will it make it easier to develop and perform further industrial activities over the reef?

Update 14 Feb 2013:

The Newman Government continues it's purge of Labor linked personnel in Gladstone Port. Upon reaching the end of his contract, Chief Executive Leo Zussino offered to continue for another 2 years but was declined by Mark Brodie.  Premier Newman wished Zussino all the best from the floor of Queensland Parliament: Labor-linked Gladstone Chief To Step Down

Update 15 Feb 2013:

Two species of sea grass in the Gladstone Ports area may now be extinct. Dugongs and turtles feed on these as vital food.  Extinction fears for Gladstone seagrass

Update 16 Feb 2013:

Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell today announced a Gladstone Healthy Harbour Science Panel announced.

Update 18 Feb 2013:

The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke has now launched its own investigation into the dredging at Gladstone Port: Government at odds over Gladstone harbour expansion probe

An independent study commissioned by the Gladstone Seafood Association revealed high levels of copper and zinc. Fish disease began not long after dredging.

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