AMCS: Bad News for Great Barrier Reef (Australia)

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has hit back at big coal and gas companies who are complaining about regulations that are designed to protect the environment.

Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said it was deeply concerning if the big resource companies were lobbying to remove environmental protection that is crucial to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

“Mining companies already get special treatment in Queensland. They are able to fast track approvals under State Development laws and the Queensland government has been watering down environmental regulations.

It’s a bit rich for big mining companies, who send 83 per cent of profits overseas, to demand the removal or fast tracking of environmental protection when we are talking about the future of Australia’s most important natural icon, the Great Barrier Reef.

“The speed of many of these developments is already overwhelming communities. When we rush projects through, we ignore the community’s concerns and we ignore the impact on the environment.

“Along the Great Barrier Reef’s coastline, there are plans for five mega ports that will see millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping, increased shipping and threats to coastal wetlands.

“These developments could put thousands of tourism industry jobs and $6 billion in tourism revenue to the state’s economy at risk.

“One of the developers planning the world’s biggest coal port less than 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands are complaining about too many environmental protections in today’s The Australian.

“These complaints ring hollow to the 92 per cent of Australians who want the Reef protected.

“If developers are pushing to build massive port infrastructure in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, they have to expect tough regulations.

“We’ve seen regulations slashed by the Queensland Government, and noises made by both major Federal parties about a willingness to cut these regulations further.

“If big mining interests are successful in further fast-tracking and winding back environmental controls, Australia could be left with a ruined Reef and few returns from the resources boom.”

Press Release, May 27, 2013

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