Maintenance Dredging Strategy for GBR WHA Ports

3Oth November 2016: Release of Queensland Governments  

Maintenance Dredging Strategy for GBR WHA Ports 


Science, Standards and Sensibility Prevails at the Port of Cairns. 

This Strategy aims to support and complement existing laws and guidelines by making clear the framework and practices that should apply to maintenance dredging in Queensland. It is not intended to create additional regulatory requirements or layers to what is already a complex and comprehensive regulatory system.

The 'At Sea' placement of maintenance sediment will be continued.

Principle 7 At sea placement of dredge material: Applications to place material at sea will continue to abide by existing National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging 2009 (or any subsequent versions) and regulatory processes, including an assessment of: • all feasible alternative disposal options • sediment quality at both loading and placement sites in accordance with relevant regulation and guidelines to prevent toxic material being placed at sea • how the sites may be impacted, with consideration of the marine environment and other uses of the area • monitoring and management measures to control or mitigate impacts.

Alert: Page 32 of the document has the following information in the footnote No. 3:
At the Port of Cairns since 2010 it has not been possible to achieve the maintenance dredging target depths due to technical specification reasons.

Media Release


Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark Bailey

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles

New ports dredging strategy protects reef

A strong risk-based framework for sustainable, leading practice maintenance dredging of Queensland ports to ensure protection of the Great Barrier Reef was announced today.


The Maintenance Dredging Strategy for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Ports was jointly released by Ports Minister Mark Bailey and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles, meeting an important election commitment and key action under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

“The Palaszczuk Government is focused on protecting the reef for the future while ensuring the continued operating efficiency of our ports within the World Heritage Area,” Mr Bailey said.

“The strategy is an important action that demonstrates our focus on maintaining and improving the Great Barrier Reef’s Outstanding Universal Value.”

Dr Miles said the strategy stood alongside the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, and the delivery of many other commitments under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

“It requires ports in the Great Barrier Reef to consult with stakeholders to develop long-term management plans based on a sound knowledge of the environment in which ports operate,” Dr Miles said.

“Management and monitoring measures will ensure maintenance dredging continues in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

Mr Bailey said the strategy supports and complements existing laws and guidelines making clear the framework and practices applying to maintenance dredging,” Mr Bailey said. 

“This will bring further improvements in the way ports undertake the vital maintenance of channels, berths and basins and will require increased consultation with stakeholders,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are improving transparency and consistency in the way ports select management options, and undertake maintenance dredging.”

Dr Miles said the framework improved levels of consultation, monitoring and reporting to ensure Queensland’s valuable environmental assets are offered the best protection through a risk management approach.

“The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is working with port authorities and the Department of Transport and Main Roads to ensure that all new and existing environmental authorities will comply with the strategy,” he said.

“Delivering the maintenance dredging strategy is another achievement of the Palaszczuk Government, demonstrating our commitment to Reef protection ahead of the progress report to the UNESCO Heritage Centre due tomorrow (Thursday)”.

The strategy was developed with feedback from industry groups, Queensland and Australian Government regulators, environmental groups and scientific experts.

A copy of the strategy is available via the TMR website -

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