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The Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has announced that the Federal Government has approved the proposed construction of the Arrow liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Curtis Island off Gladstone, in central Queensland as well as an expansion of the Abbot Point Coal terminal near Mackay.

The LNG plant, which gained State Government approval in September, is one of five developments under assessment or previously approved that together comprise the Arrow CSG-LNG project:

  • Arrow LNG Plant – received State and Federal approval
  • Surat Gas Project – currently under Federal assessment
  • Arrow Surat Pipeline – approved in 2009
  • Bowen Gas Project – preparing supplementary report to the EIS
  • Arrow Bowen Pipeline – State approval granted, currently under Federal assessment

Qld Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the approvals will provide a much needed boost to Queensland’s coal and coal seam gas industries.

“We welcome this common-sense decision from the Commonwealth Government that will encourage growth in Queensland’s resources sector and underpin future jobs in the coal and coal seam gas sector,” Mr Seeney said.

“Australia’s longest and most comprehensive assessment process has produced some of the strictest environmental conditions in Australia’s history.

“That is only right and proper given that we are protecting Australia’s and Queensland’s most important asset, the Great Barrier Reef.”

Mr Seeney rejected criticisms that the port expansion will harm the reef environment.

“The amount of dredging that will take place at Abbot Point under this process is one-tenth of that proposed by the former Labor government,” he said.

Mr Seeney said he welcomed the Federal Government’s acceptance of the Queensland Government approach that dredge material be viewed as a valuable resource.

“The draft Queensland Ports Strategy has proposed that the material produced by dredging be used beneficially to enhance onshore port precincts,” he said.

“The beneficial use of dredge material to boost the land area of existing ports makes good common sense, and will reduce the pressure for port development in other areas.

“We need to maximise opportunities to expand existing port assets by enhancing the land area available, an approach used very successfully around the world.”

Mr Seeney said the approval of Arrow LNG infrastructure at Curtis Island near Gladstone was a significant step for Queensland’s potential fourth major gas project.

“The LNG sector has already proven itself as a crucial driver in getting the Queensland economy back on track and we welcome Federal Government support for its ongoing growth.”

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