AMCS: PM Rudd Must Stand Up for Reef (Australia)

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has called on the Rudd Government to reject the Business Council’s call for cutting more regulation on major projects – a decision that could hasten the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef from rapid industrial development.

Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef campaign director for AMCS, said Queenslanders were already reeling from the State government’s decision to fast-track approvals along the Queensland coast.

“The Queensland government is giving special treatment to big mining companies and port developments, with plans for 5 mega ports, more dredging, dumping and shipping through the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Wishart said today.

What the Business Council are calling for is a further fast tracking of developments along the Reef.

“This is exactly what Mr Abbott’s Coalition has planned under its ‘one-stop shop initiative – which will be a disaster for the Reef – and we urge Mr Rudd not to engage in a race to the bottom on reducing environmental protection.

“We urge both major parties to resist the temptation to slash and burn our environmental protection. The iconic World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef deserves the toughest environmental laws.

“The Queensland government has been reducing environmental protections in Queensland. Currently there is a proposal to dredge millions of tonnes of seafloor less than 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands awaiting federal ministerial consideration – which would already have been approved if the BCA’s plan was adopted.

“Giving up federal environmental protections will mean more dredging, more dumping in the Reef’s waters and more shipping through the Great Barrier Reef – with less checks, less controls and much greater risk of something going wrong.

“Gladstone Harbour has been a terrible example of what happens when developments are pushed ahead without proper checks.

“We don’t want to see what’s happened in Gladstone repeated up the entire coast.

“We call on Mr Rudd to stand up for all Queenslanders who love the Reef, reject the Business Council’s proposals and put the $6 billion Reef tourism industry and it’s 60,000 jobs first,” Ms Wishart said.

Source: marineconservation.org, July 3, 2013

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