Scientists Welcome Contribution to Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
The peak representative body for minerals and energy sector companies in Queensland has welcomed the commitment of Australian and international scientists to support ongoing protection of the Great Barrier Reef as a place of Outstanding Universal Value on the World Heritage register.
Responding to a joint statement by scientists collected by environmental group WWF, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said that the scientists’ acknowledgement of present threats to the reef and advocacy of a cautious approach to future development was on the same page as the resources sector.
‘As I said earlier today, in the face of activist distortions and outright lies, our industries’ only weapons are facts, evidence and science – and we will deploy those weapons resolutely and robustly,’ Mr Roche said.
‘After alarmist predictions from Greenpeace of more than 11,000 coal ships moving through the Great Barrier Reef by 2020 when the most optimistic forecast is around 4,000 – and the more likely number is around 3,000 – we are definitely up for scientific input and sensible discussion.
‘As far as the issue of existing port expansions is concerned, the scientists who signed today’s statement will have noted the Abbot Point Voluntary Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA), which has set a national and perhaps global benchmark for best practice environment management of future projects.
‘The CIA is made up of 16 independent environmental studies, has been peer-reviewed and exceeds UNESCO’s current requirements for developments in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.’
Mr Roche said 11 commercial ports between Bundaberg and Bamaga – covering 80 percent of the eastern Queensland coastline – were included in the Great Barrier Reef’s inscription on the World Heritage register in 1981.
‘In fact, Queensland’s minerals and agricultural export industries have been working harmoniously alongside the reef since its declaration as a Marine Park six years earlier.
‘The ports are a working component of the park environment. In 2011-12 the value of exports moved through them was $40 billion, or 78 percent of Queensland’s total export volume.
‘The same ports are essential supply lines for almost one million people who live alongside the 2,300 kilometres of coastline under Marine Park control.
‘Ecologically sustainable development was the guiding principle for the park’s declaration 38 years ago, and there is no proposal from industry to go back on that commitment made on behalf of all Australians,’ Mr Roche said.
Press Release, June 5, 2013