Mermaid Sound dredging proposal period criticised

Woodside Energy is petitioning the Australian government for approval to begin dredging and pipeline construction at Mermaid Sound, close to the Western Australian Dampier Archipelago marine reserves.

The work comprises 2.7 million m3 of sea floor dredging, to install a 32.7 km gas pipeline. This would form part of a larger 430 km pipeline system connecting the facility to the Pluto LNG facility on the Burrup peninsula.

The development proposal was submitted to the federal environment department on Christmas Eve last year, leaving only 10 days for public comment, a move criticised by opponents to the proposal. Wilderness Society’s federal policy director Tim Beshara was quoted in The Guardian as saying: “When in Scott Morrison’s Christmas address, he said this a time for ‘barbecues, boardies, holidays, family’, it makes you wonder why Melissa Price’s department started the 10-day public consultation period on Christmas Eve for one of the most complex projects ever assessed under the EPBC Act.”