AMCS Urges Australians to Stand Up for Great Barrier Reef
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has urged all Australians to stand up and fight for the Great Barrier Reef – given the disappointing policies and actions of the countries’ major parties on the issue of industrialising one of the wonders of the world to date.
Felicity Wishart, the Society’s Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, said it was now clear that without massive community pressure, neither of the major parties were likely to protect the Reef.
“The Coalition claim they’re all about direct action. If that’s the case, they should adopt the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee and pledge to cease all new industrial developments approvals until the health of the Reef can be assured,” Ms Wishart said.
“The Coalition needs to commit to stopping the fast-tracking of mega ports, stopping the millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping and stopping the Reef becoming a shipping superhighway if elected.
“But let’s be very clear about this –the Labor Party is yet to make these commitments either.
“The Federal Environment minister has failed to act to prevent further approvals on the Reef.
“Minister Burke has already approved one new coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen. If all the proposed terminals go ahead, it will become the biggest coal port in the world, only 50km from the Whitsunday Islands.
“Australians want to see the Great Barrier Reef protected. Our politicians need to deliver.
“Australians fought to get it protected from mining and they will fight to have it protected from coal ships, dredging and dumping.
“In Queensland, we’ve seen environmental regulations dumped, assessment officers fired and fast tracking to hasten the industrial reef developments that are causing concern across the world.
“We’re deeply troubled that the Federal Government has failed to step in and deeply concerned about the Coalition’s plan for a ‘one stop shop’ agreement with the State government for approving the developments on the Great Barrier Reef. How will this increase protection and accountability?
“The community must once again rise up to alert their members of parliament to the blindingly obvious – the Great Barrier Reef is no place for mega ports and a shipping superhighway,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, May 21, 2013