Two thirds of Aussies say no to dumping on Barrier Reef

AS MANY as two-thirds of Australians do not support the approval to dump dredged spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at Abbot Point, a poll has found.

The Essential poll surveyed more than 1000 Australians about the recent approval to dump three million tonnes of the sediment about 40km from the reef.

It found 66% of those asked about the decision said they disapproved of it, while just 17% said they approved.

The controversial approval, which was made with more than 40 conditions attached, was the latest in a string of approvals near the reef since the Abbott Government took office.

While the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval, it has raised the ire of environmentalists.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society's campaign director Felicity Wishart said the poll showed most Australians did not support the project so close to the reef," she said.

"Tourism operators from the Whitsunday's are very worried about the consequences that dredging and dumping will have on the Reef's clear waters and islands' white sand beaches.

"They have been backed up by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

"And 240 scientists from the Australian Coral Reef Society wrote to the GBRMPA urging them to refuse a permit to allow dumping of 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the Reef's waters."

A statement from GBRMPA at the time of its approval said it was made according to the "latest science", despite a recent study by the authority finding dumped sediment could spread more than 100km from the dumping site.