Project Status

A Hydrographic Survey report to inform a future dredge management plan for Port Hinchinbrook (One Mile Creek) has been published.

The investigation examined the option of sediment removal below 1,000 tonnes annually to inform future dredge management plans.

Findings of the report are being considered with a recommendation to be delivered for Council endorsement following the Local Government Election.

**Previous Update**

Please be advised that a hydrographic survey of One Mile Creek is scheduled on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 January. In line with our investigations of alternative dredging options, we're specifically examining the option of sediment removal below 1,000 tonnes annually.The survey will inform future dredge management plans.

We expect the report by late January to February, with a community update to follow.

The Port Hinchinbrook (One Mile Creek) dredging project is funded with $1.5 million from the Australian Government.

At the October 2023 Local Government Meeting, Cassowary Coast Regional Council received the Port Hinchinbrook (One Mile Creek) Dredge Sediment Disposal Site Analysis Report (Report).

Council resolved to:

1. Receive the Dredge Sediment Disposal Site Analysis Report;

2. Commence scope development for design for the Dredge Sediment Management Facility and associated Acid Sulphate Management Plan on Lot 170 SP177389; and

3. Request the Chief Executive Officer commence discussion with the Federal Government in relation to the activities in the current funding agreement;

4. Request the Chief Executive Officer commence discussion with the Department of Environment and Science in relation to confirming process and timeframes for a new dredging approval;

5. Request the Chief Executive Officer commence discussion with the liquidators in relation to the outcomes of the report particularly as they relate to Lot 170 SP177389; and

6. Request the Chief Executive Officer provide a report detailing options to progress the project or otherwise to Council following these discussions and consideration of the Dredge Sediment Analysis Report.

The Report, compiled by Water Technology Pty Ltd, was delivered to Council on 19 October 2023, and was given high priority as an addition to the October Local Government Meeting Agenda. This Report will play a pivotal role in decision making for this project. By publishing the Report, Council aims to enhance understanding around the complexities of this project and the rationale behind future decision-making, and to demonstrate Council’s commitment to being open and transparent.

As outlined in the Report, the sediment sampling has identified Acid Sulphate Soils (ASS), necessitating a change in disposal methodology. This mandates the scoping of an ASS management plan, which will influence the design of Lot 170 (the existing disposal location) being the preferred site for dredge sediment disposal as articulated in the Report. The insights from the Report will be incorporated into ongoing discussions with the Port Hinchinbrook Estate Liquidator and Queensland and Australian Government partners. This involves further priority discussions with the Department of Environment and Science regarding the Environmental Approval process.

To date, Council has not lodged a milestone claim under the $1.5 million funding agreement with the Australian Government.

Council would like to advise the community that sediment testing was undertaken in late August 2023 as part of the Port Hinchinbrook (One Mile Creek) dredging project.

This activity will focus on analysing the sediment composition, pollutant levels, and potential ecological impacts; and was undertaken in accordance with a permit specific to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The results obtained from the sediment testing will inform a dredging options report due to be finalised at the end of October.

The report will inform the dredging process going forward.

These reports are crucial in the planning and decision-making process for dredging projects. Ultimately the brief will assist in making informed decisions about how to proceed with dredging activities while considering environmental, effectiveness, economic, and social factors.

Council, like any entity, cannot engage in dredging activities without an Environmental Authority for a number of important reasons. One of these reasons being that our region is home to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, which are designated as World Heritage Sites. They are home to endangered and important species that are not found anywhere else in the world. The ecological biodiversity and significance of these areas require extra approvals and protections to preserve these areas for future generations.