Australia: Greens Release New Dredging Figures for Great Barrier Reef
The Australian Greens today released new official figures on dredging and dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area which show our Reef continues to be treated as a coal and gas highway and a rubbish tip, risking UNESCO listing the Reef as World Heritage in Danger.
“There is only one Great Barrier Reef. Yet we’re on track to turn this wonder of the world which employs 54,000 people and brings in $7bil each year into a coal and gas highway and a rubbish dump for dredge spoil. What a triumph of greedy short-termism over the national interest,” said Australian Greens Environment spokesperson, Queensland Senator Larissa Waters.
Senate Estimates figures obtained by Senator Waters show a massive increase in dredging proposed in the Reef over the last decade, with 68 million cubic metres of dredging approved since July 2000 and almost that amount again currently applied for (58 million cubic metres of dredging proposed).
“There has already been 40 MCG’s worth of seabed digging – dredging – in our internationally significant Reef, yet there are plans for at least another 34 MCG’s worth without even including the massive Abbott Point expansion currently being re-tendered for.
“The Australian Government is allowing our Reef to be treated like a rubbish tip by allowing offshore dumping of that dredge spoil to the tune of 55 million cubic metres approved or applied for since 2000 (a massive 32 MCGs worth), despite GBRMPA policy that offshore dumping should be a last resort.
“We welcome the new campaign by WWF-Australia and AMCS Fight for our Reef to highlight the significant threats the Reef is facing. People across the country have already backed the Greens Too Precious to Lose campaign about our Reef and I know they will support this new campaign.
“Australians everywhere care about our Reef and this will be an election issue. With Campbell Newman backing the coal industry and federal Minister Burke flouting UNESCO’s recommendations, the Greens are the only party who stand for protecting our Reef,” Senator Waters said.
Press Release, January 23, 2013