Tears of joy and of grief at Abbot Point expansion decision
THE approval of a new terminal and dredging at Abbot Point coal terminal has made Bowen residents jump with joy while others, including tourism operators, have been reduced to tears.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt gave the go-ahead for Adani's project to build a new terminal, and the dredging of three million cubic metres of sand.
Bowen LJ Hooker principal Tony Doyle said relief had spread through the town.
"This would be the hardest year Bowen has been through," he said. "There's been a lot of businesses close down, it's the hardest year I've ever had in 30 years of real estate."
He said the decision had put some confidence back into the town.
However, tourism operators in the Whitsundays say some people are upset about the news.
"Heartbroken" is how Explore Whitsundays partner Al Grundy described the reaction. He said some business owners he had spoken to were literally reduced to tears.
"The problem with us is that water quality has been declining on fringing reefs for the last seven years," he said.
"There's so much evidence that sedimentation is impacting the Great Barrier Reef... This is the tipping point.
"The scariest thing coming out of it is that Minister Hunt's conditions don't say anything about doing water testing here in the Whitsundays."
However, for Bowen residents, the news couldn't be better.
Mr Doyle said people had been scared to invest in the town while awaiting this decision.
Now they had a reason to buy.
Fisherman and Bowen Fisherman's Seafood Company director Brett Bauer said the benefits to the town outweighed the small concerns they had about how dredging would affect the fishing industry.
"I think everyone in town is hanging on to it," he said. "All fishermen are for it and want it to go ahead, but they're just concerned about the dredging side of it.
"(But) we're all keen to see Abbot Point going ahead. Let's just hope the powers are able to keep a good eye on it."
The $3 billion Adani coal terminal expansion will export coal from the sprawling Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.
The dredging will make way for this new terminal along with two other future terminals.
Mr Hunt said there were 95 environmental conditions on the Abbot Point projects.