The Dredge Technical Reference Panel (DTRP) is a committee of technical experts and regulators the Commonwealth Government requires as part of the approvals for the dredging project.
The panel provides high-level advice to ensure dredging meets all of the required water quality and seagrass approval conditions to minimise impacts the project may have on the environment. It provides project oversight and is required to meet regularly for the duration of the project.
The panel consists of independent experts, who have no affiliation with any parties involved with the project:
- Independent Chair, Dr Rick Morton, an environmental scientist with extensive experience in environmental management planning and dredging activities
- Ms Carol Conacher, Principal Ecologist for frc environmental, provides independent scientific and technical expertise in relation to seagrass and benthic habitats
- Mr Frans Hoogerwerf, Hoogerwerf - Maritime, provides independent technical expertise in dredge operation and management
The panel also includes expert consultants:
- Dr Leonie Andersen, Vision Environment Queensland, provides expert advice on water quality monitoring and analysis
- Professor David Fox, Environmetrics Australia, an expert in mathematical analysis of water quality data and development of water quality guidelines
- Dr Michael Rasheed and Dr Katie Chartrand, Principal Scientists for DEEDI, provide scientific expertise in seagrass monitoring and health
- Representatives of the dredging contractors (VODI JV)
- State Government agencies, Department of Environment and Resource Management; Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation; and Maritime Safety Queensland, who provide advice on regulatory compliance issues
- Gladstone Ports Corporation representatives are also on the panel
What does the DTRP do?
The DTRP routinely reviews water quality monitoring data, seagrass health and dredging practices. If deemed necessary the DTRP can recommend changes to water quality monitoring practices or the dredging management plan.
The project uses this advice to ensure all dredging practices can be undertaken to meet all approval/permit conditions. Any changes to such conditions needed to better manage the dredging, seagrass health and water quality are made in association with all relevant government regulators.