Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters Allan Reinikka

Waters urges Labor to follow through on 'change of heart'

THE Senate has called on the Australian Government to prohibit any dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

While many were watching the political machinations in Canberra, Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters quietly passed her motion through the Senate.

Endorsed by the Senate, the motion called on the commonwealth to prohibit any such dumping.

The motion, if agreed to by the government, could impact on dumping at existing grounds near Abbot Point and Gladstone Harbour.

Senator Waters said Labor had a "change of heart" after previously approving millions of tonnes of sediment to be dumped in the world heritage Area.

"I've written to the Environment Minister, urging Labor to follow through on its apparent change of heart by rejecting the dredging and dumping for the Abbot Point port expansion," she said.

"As a Queenslander, there's another type of Abbott for Kevin Rudd to oppose.

"The Abbot Point project risks our $5 billion reef tourism industry and the 54,000 jobs that rely on a healthy reef."

The motion was welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society's Felicity Wishart.

She said it was the first time the Labor Party had supported a motion to end the dumping, congratulating the major party for "getting on board".

However, in the dying days of the 43rd Parliament, and with a backlog of bills to get through, a major change to government policy on such issues was unlikely.