Abbot Point Cumulative Impact Assessment

Peter and Heather led the development of a Cumulative Impact Assessment for the Port of Abbot Point in north Queensland.

Client: Abbot Point Working Group

The project

Peter and Heather led the development of a Cumulative Impact Assessment for the Port of Abbot Point in north Queensland.

The project was conducted for the Abbot Point Working Group (made up of Adani, BHP Billiton, GVK Hancock and North Queensland Bulk Ports) and was a collaboration between Open Lines and Eco Logical Australia.

What we did

The aim of the project was to take a bigger picture view of the potential impacts of three new proposals at the Port. It was one of the first projects of its kind in Australia and the resource companies involved undertook the work as a voluntary initiative because they wanted to:

  • Deal with potential impacts within an environmentally sensitive area
  • Help inform Commonwealth and State Government decision makers
  • Develop joint approaches to managing the environment at the Port

We had to grapple with a new type of work and develop information and methods to understand cumulative impacts (including both additive and synergistic impacts across multiple environments). As part of this process we addressed the key issues around an industrial development adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef including understanding and analysing potential impacts to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage area.

The work involved:

  • Development of a robust assessment methodology to examine cumulative impacts
  • Analysis of cumulative impacts using sixteen detailed technical studies specifically developed for the project
  • Facilitation of a peer review process by four eminent environmental experts to help increase the rigour in the project
  • Development of port-wide conservation objectives that clearly establish the environmental outcomes to be achieved over time
  • Establishment of a joint environmental management framework for implementation across the Port

The project was completed in 2013 and is well regarded by regulators and the resource sector.

Abbot Point