CURTIS ISLAND PORT PROPOSALS
Curtis Island and its many natural and cultural values are under threat from further industrial development for Port Land.
Gladstone Port Corporation own land on the south-western end of the Island at Hamilton Point, within the Gladstone State Development Area and immediately south of the three LNG plants currently being built. They are also interested in the freehold land (some 2,270 hectares) at the northern end of Curtis Island, around Sea Hill, Grassy Hill and Bald Hill for port development. And to top it off, there are plans afoot to put a road and other infrastructure across The Narrows to service these port expansion dreams.
According to the Co-ordinator General’s Western Basin Master Plan (2010), Hamilton Point is owned by Gladstone Ports Corporation and there is intention to "retain the area for future port-related activities, such as a container port or liquid products exporting facility"
A Land Use Plan is expected to be developed for Hamilton Point by the Coordinator General in the future to “set out how the land and water zones around Hamilton Point should be used”1 and “will determine the extent and location of a common-user infrastructure corridor on Hamilton Point to service North China Bay, Boatshed Point and Hamilton Point West.”
However, in the mean-time, the Co-ordinator General’s Port of Gladstone Western Basin Master Plan (2010) suggests the following about Hamilton Point:
• “The area provides natural deep water access for cape-size vessels and is backed by land suitable, with significant earth works, for associated port facilities. Any port development would be subject to the same visual amenity and environmental impact obligations as required by the LNG proposals.”
• “The Queensland Government has determined that Hamilton Point will not be approved for stockpiling (i.e. coal or other products that could become airborne) as there is the potential for impacts upon the air filtration systems of the adjoining proposed LNG plants, as well as contributing to contaminants in Gladstone’s airshed.”
• “The Queensland Government has also determined that LNG projects do not meet its future development plans for Hamilton Point….. However, the construction of common-user facilities may be permitted, subject to satisfying visual amenity obligations.”
A road, storage and parking areas and what looks to be a marine offloading facility, are already in place on the eastern side of Hamilton Point. This is probably to service the North China Bay, Boatshed Point and Hamilton Point West as described in the Western Basin Master Plan. The infrastructure is clearly visible on the satellite imagery from 2012 and 2013 provided by Google Maps. We encourage you to go and view this for yourself at https://maps.google.com.au/
The image below identifies the future port berths at Hamilton Point. (source GPC 50 year Strategoc Plan)
Hamilton Point environment
CCC is concerned that this area will be developed further in future years for port land (as described above), resulting in further dredging, possible reclamation, loss of vegetation and wildlife habitat, and noise and physical disturbance from major earthworks and operations.
The Hamilton Point area has one remnant patch of the Critically Endangered (EPBC* listed) Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets. The location of this patch can be viewed on our Curtis Island map of this ecosystem here. The remnant is located to north of the service road and offloading wharf for the GLNG on the western side of Hamilton Point.
Hamilton Point is fringed by saltmarsh vegetation and mangroves, both of which are important habitat for the Vulnerable (EPBC listed*) Water Mouse Xeromys myoides.
Port Curtis and Curtis Island host major inter-tidal foraging areas and roosting sites for migratory shorebirds. The inter-tidal areas on the eastern and western flanks of Hamilton Point provide such foraging habitat.
The recent 2013 Annual Summer Survey and report of Migratory Shorebirds for Gladstone Port Corporation states in the Executive Summary that:
“The site of the Western Basin Dredging Project in Port Curtis continues to experience a localised decline in migratory shorebird numbers similar to that documented in previous reports. In some instances the displacement of birds can be attributed to development activity, but in others the cause is not clear. Differentiating between different projects and different construction activities is difficult because everything is happening in the same place at the same time. “
A full set of Migratory Shorebird surveys for Port Curtis and Port Alma are available for download from GPC’s Western Basin Port Development Webpage here.
SEA HILL AREA
It is public knowledge that Gladstone Port Corporation would like to turn Sea Hill and surrounding areas into Strategic Port land in the near future.
Sea Hill to Bald Hill Environment
CCC is greatly concerned that the Freehold land at the northern end of Curtis Island (see map below) will be acquired for port facilities. CCC does not support this proposal as we believe it would have unacceptable impacts to:
• Declared fish habitat area;
• Known habitat of the Near Threatened Snubfin Dolphin (Nature Conservation Act);
• Known habitat of the Critically Endangered Capricorn Yellow Chat (EPBC Act);
• Nearby nesting habitat and population of Flatback Turtles (Vulnerable – EPBC Act) at Peak Island;
• Migratory Shorebird and Shorebird roosting and foraging sites (important nationally and internationally);
• Nationally recognised and important wetlands (The Narrows and Northeast Curtis Island);
• Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area;
• Mangroves, saltmarshes, marine plain, wetland and woodland vegetation;
• Remnant patches of the Critically Endangered Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thicket community (EPBC Act);
• Other Matters of National Environmental Significance; and
• Water quality, noise, air, visual and light pollution.
Sea Hill area is also known for its Aboriginal and European cultural heritage sites.
We therefore believe that the Freehold land of approximately 2,270 hectares at Sea Hill would be far better suited to conservation protection and management in perpetuity. This area should become part of the National and Conservation Park Estate to protect the natural and cultural values and flora and fauna of the terrestrial and marine environments.
The Sea Hill area has multiple remnant patches of the Critically Endangered (EPBC* listed) Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets. The location of these can be viewed on our Curtis Island map of this ecosystem here5555.
The northern end of Curtis Island hosts major inter-tidal foraging areas and roosting sites for migratory shorebirds and shorebirds.
A full set of Migratory Shorebird survey reports for Port Curtis and Port Alma are available for download from GPC’s Western Basin Port Development Webpage
Image source: Gladstone Ports Corporation Report for Migratory Shorebird Monitoring Port Curtis and the Curtis Coast Annual Summer Survey – 2013.