WWF: Protection of Great Barrier Reef Remains Key Concern (Australia)

Protection of Great Barrier Reef Remains Key Concern

As Community Cabinet meets in Rockhampton today, research shows more than three-quarters of people in the Queensland electorate of Capricornia [75.2%] support a total ban on the dumping of dredged waste in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Of all the threats to the Reef, by far the biggest concern is the expansion of industrial ports, dredging and increased shipping. More than 46% of respondents nominated that expansion should be a primary focus for Australian governments.

The majority of respondents (50.6%) say they are more likely to vote for a party that has a strong, well-funded plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

“Heading into the Federal election, the protection of the Great Barrier Reef remains a key concern for Reef communities such as Capricornia and people are willing to support strong government action,WWF-Australia’s Nick Heath said today.

The recently released Reef report card indicates a deterioration in Reef health and shows there is a lot of work to be done by the Federal and State governments.

“The Fight for the Reef campaign is calling on all parties contesting the next federal election to ban dumping of dredged spoil in Reef waters, and tackle the issue of coastal industrialisation and present a well-funded plan to safeguard the Reef,” he said.

Felicity Wishart, Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, said the Federal Government should use today’s Community Cabinet as an opportunity to show Reef communities it will abandon support for dredging off Abbot Point, and long-term protection in the Fitzroy delta.

“Federal Labor senators supported a motion to end offshore dredging last month. Although it is not Government policy yet, there’s strong support for making it official and ensuring a lasting legacy for the Reef,” Ms Wishart said.

We ask Opposition Environment Spokesperson Greg Hunt to make the same commitment to end all dumping of dredge spoil in the Reef’s World Heritage waters, and guarantee long-term protection in the Fitzroy delta.

“Addressing the impacts of industrialisation on the Great Barrier Reef should be beyond party politics. People across Queensland, Australia and the world are watching closely whether we have the leadership needed to avoid an ‘in danger’ listing for the tourist icon,” she said.

[mappress]

Press Release, July 16, 2013

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