An independent review of environmental management arrangements and governance of the Port of Gladstone was commissioned in February 2013.
The review provided an initial report on findings to the Australian Government on 30 July 2013. Interested parties were invited to provide comments on the initial report by 6 September 2013. The review delivered a Supplementary Report, focused on port optimisation issues, on 1 November 2013.
The review was used to inform the comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef.
Australian Government response
The Australian Government released its response to the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone, the supplementary report and the independent Review of the Bund Wall at the Port of Gladstone on 19 August 2015.
The Australian Government has agreed or agreed in principle with all the recommendations of the review that fall within the Australian Government’s jurisdiction. A range of actions have already been undertaken to address them, including;
- the comprehensive strategic assessment
- the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan
- the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership
- effective bilateral environmental assessment processes
- developing a regulation under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to permanently ban dumping of material from capital dredging projects into the Marine Park.
The World Heritage Committee’s request
The independent review is a key component of the Australian Government’s response to the 2012 decision of the World Heritage Committee regarding the ongoing protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property.
The decision requested the Australian Government:
"undertake an independent review of the management arrangements for Gladstone Harbour, that will result in the optimisation of port development and operation in Gladstone Harbour and on Curtis Island, consistent with the highest internationally recognised standards for best practice commensurate with iconic World Heritage status."
The role of the review
The role of the independent review was to:
- examine and report on the management arrangements for the Port of Gladstone to respond to the World Heritage Committee's Decision 36 Com 7B.8, and
- advise the Minister on other relevant matters to inform decision-making under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, in response to the World Heritage Committee’s decision, or any other matters as requested by the Minister.
The geographic scope of the review included the Port of Gladstone and offshore areas that may be used for the disposal of dredge material or may be otherwise affected directly or indirectly by port development within the Port of Gladstone.
For the purpose of the review the term "Port of Gladstone" meant the area defined by the Port of Gladstone Ports Limits together with adjoining islands and landside area, including reclamation areas, that support existing or consented industrial developments or are proposed to cater for future port-related industrial activities and supporting infrastructure.