Greg Hunt under pressure to delay decision on Abbot Point

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have called for Abbott Government frontbencher Greg Hunt to delay any decision on Abbot Point until two investigations are completed.

Mr Hunt, the Federal Environment Minister, announced the separate investigations this week.

One will look into alleged breaches of environmental conditions by Indian multi-national Adani, associated with its proposed coal mine, the product of which would be exported through Abbot Point.

The other investigation was announced on Wednesday, to examine alleged links between Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority board members and resources companies.

Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Felicity Wishart said on Thursday the Abbot Point approval should be further delayed until after both investigations are completed.

The project, which involves dredging three million tonnes of sediment from the seafloor at the port, has already been delayed three times, after it was originally set for a decision in July this year.

Ms Wishart said the minister needed the results of the investigations before a "sound determination" could be made.

"There is a push for Abbot Point to become the biggest coal export port in the world, despite its location on the doorstep of the reef's World Heritage area and plans to dump dredge spoil only 50km from the Whitsundays," she said.

"The community needs to be reassured on environmental management given the significant potential impacts of further development on the Great Barrier Reef, local tourism operators and commercial and recreational fishing."

Mr Hunt was in Gladstone and Bowen this week, talking with local and stakeholders about the Abbot Point proposal and Arrow Energy's LNG project on Curtis Island.

But he said he could not necessarily further delay a decision on either project, but would ensure both investigations were completed as soon as possible.

A decision on both projects is due in mid-December.

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