Gladstone port.
Gladstone port.

Court orders Ports Corp hand over dredging diary

STAFF at Gladstone Ports Corporation have been ordered to search their work sites for any documents relating to a controversial dredging project as a matter of urgency.

This morning the GPC issued an internal memo titled urgent in red capital letters.

The document stated “GPC has been ordered by the Supreme Court of Queensland to undertake a search for hard copy documents in relation to the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project.”

The memo issued by acting general manager Asset Management and Project Services/ Operations, Ged Melrose, describes the documents as “Minutes of daily site meetings at GPC offices between January 2011 and December 2012.”

“These meetings were chaired by either Peter O’Sullivan, Michael Jorgensen, Robert Ferguson or Rob Ryan and notes were taken and recorded in a physical ‘project day book’ in the form of a hard copy diary, which was in the possession of either Peter O’Sullivan, Michael Jorgensen or Rob Ryan,” Mr Melrose wrote.

Employees were told the documents may be in ‘A4 sized hard copy books (ie diaries/ledgers)’.

“I wish to emphasise the importance to all staff performing the search for any documents which may meet or related to the above description and notifying the location of any such documents,” Mr Melrose wrote.

Aerial view of Gladstone Harbour, Queensland, in the World Heritage listed area where the nation's biggest dredging operation was conducted as part of the $30 billion Curtis Island LNG project.
Aerial view of Gladstone Harbour, Queensland, in the World Heritage listed area where the nation's biggest dredging operation was conducted as part of the $30 billion Curtis Island LNG project.

“In order to complete this exercise I ask that you look around your area of work, identify any remaining WDSDP records.”

GPC employees were told to advise of the records and their location by close of business on December 7.

Former GPC CEO Peter O’Sullivan was terminated by the board following an investigation into his ­handling of a “staff disciplinary matter”.

The investigation was conducted by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The Gladstone Observer does not imply Mr O’Sullivan did anything untoward with the documents.

The GPC is in an ongoing legal battle with more than 150 fishermen, who, backed by private funding, are suing the ports corporation.

The fishermen claim the project polluted waters and seas, degrading the quality and quantity of fish, impacting commercial fishermen and associated businesses’ livelihoods.

A spokeswoman said GPC continued to act in accordance with the previous directions of Justice Crow in July 2020 to provide any relevant documentation.

“All requests for documents have been answered by GPC and a final review is being conducted to ensure all relevant documents have been identified,” the spokeswoman said.

“GPC will continue to vigorously defend the proceedings in relation to the 2010/11 dredging operation and it is important to understand that two previous class actions have been denied by the courts.

“We remain focused on maintaining jobs and prosperity for Queensland through the safe and effective operation of the Gladstone Port, Port of Rockhampton and Port of Bundaberg.”

More stories:

GPC loses another bid to stop fishers class action case

‘A slap in the face’: Gladstone water prices hiked 16%

CQ leaders meet to focus on delivering critical investments



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