Great Barrier Reef report


Litigation risks for business and government

Government and businesses operating in and around the Reef can be the target of public interest litigation to curtail particular activities. There is a long history of public interest litigation concerning the Reef, given the number of relevant stakeholders and regulators, and high community expectations for protection of the Reef. As such, there are strong litigation risks for proponents of development or activities within the GBR Marine Park, or which are within the catchment area for the Reef. For example: – Proceedings brought by NGO North Queensland Conservation Council Inc ( NQCC ) in 2015 concerning a decision made by the GBRMPA to approve dumping of three million cubic tonnes of dredged material into the Marine Park, associated with dredging works carried out to expand Abbot Point Port. As a consequence of these proceedings being brought and public pressure, the Australian Government amended the legislation to prohibit dumping, and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal cancelled the permit by consent 61

– Proceedings brought by NQCC in the 1990s to challenge a government decision to develop a harbour on Magnetic Island 62 – Successful proceedings brought by Queensland Conservation Council Inc against the Minister for Environment and Heritage relating to a decision not to undertake further environmental assessment relating to a proposal to construct a dam on the Dawson River, including due to its potential for impacts and pollution upon the Reef 63 – Proceedings brought by the Whitsunday Residents against Dumping Ltd in 2016 unsuccessfully challenging a licensing decision made by the Queensland Government to allow bulk material handling and sewage treatment associated with expansion of the Abbot Point Port for the Adani Carmichael coal mine 64


62 Nth Qld Conservation Council Inc v Executive Director, Qld Parks &Wildlife Service [2000] QSC 172 63 Queensland Conservation Council Inc v Minister for the Environment and Heritage [2003] FCA 1463 64 Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping Ltd v Chief Executive, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection [2017] QSC 121

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