Kirsten Livermore has sparked controversy after saying coal exports should remain in Gladstone Harbour.
Kirsten Livermore has sparked controversy after saying coal exports should remain in Gladstone Harbour. David Sparkes

Island port blast draws angry fire

KIRSTEN Livermore should take a tour of Gladstone and look at what is happening.

This is the reaction from Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers after Ms Livermore, the Member for Capricornia, hit out in Federal Parliament on Monday at a proposed coal terminal on Balaclava Island, saying coal exports should remain in the Gladstone Harbour.

"She should come down here and have a look at what we are doing in Gladstone," Cr Sellers said.

"I can't remember the last time she was down here."

Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Leo Zussino said the corporation would be happy to give anyone interested a tour of the ports and there was already a fortnightly free tour available.

He said there wasn't a connection necessarily between development in the Port of Rockhampton, where the ships can actually go through the 100km wide Capricorn channel and actually avoid the reef entirely, and potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

"I can say as the chairman of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority that increased shipping movement through the Great Barrier Reef does not necessarily mean increased potential impacts on the Great Barrier Reef because of the Reef Vessel Tracking system and mandatory pilotage in the Torres Strait and the northern parts of the reef," Mr Zussino said.

"Just as increased air traffic does not necessarily mean increased chances of air disasters because you have a whole lot of technology which can control the movement of aircraft just as you can control the movement and monitor the movement of ships through the Great Barrier Reef."

He said the development was an issue to be decided by State and Federal governments and Xstrata Coal already had significant project status.