Reef Industrialisation – Major Federal Election Issue (Australia)

A new poll of nine Queensland electorates along the Reef coast and South East Queensland has shown the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef could prove to be a decisive federal election issue, according to the Fight for the Reef campaign.

Significantly, nearly half [49.4%] of people polled said they were more likely to vote for a party with a strong, well-funded strategy for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

The majority of Queenslanders surveyed [73.2%] supported a ban on dumping dredge waste in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, including a clear majority of LNP [61.8%], ALP [83.8%], Katter’s Australian Party [68.8%], Greens [93.2%] and Palmer United Party [64.6%] voters.

In addition, 74.1% of people believe the Federal government should have the power to stop major developments that could harm places of national environmental importance like the Great Barrier Reef.

“The polling results in key Queensland communities clearly demonstrate the overwhelming support for stronger protection for the Great Barrier Reef, and its rise on the national agenda,” WWF-Australia’s Nick Heath said today.

“The message from Queensland communities is that leaders of all major political parties should commit to major improvements in Reef protection, including a ban on industrial-scale dumping in the Reef’s World Heritage Areas.

Felicity Wishart, Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director said the Federal election would be a critical one for the future of the Reef.

It is crucial that the next Australian government take its responsibility to protect the iconic Great Barrier Reef seriously, with urgent action to safeguard the $6 billion tourism industry and 60,000 jobs dependent on it.

“A ban on dumping dredge spoil in the waters of the World Heritage Area and keeping industrialisation out of places including the beautiful Fitzroy Delta and the largely pristine far northern coast makes sense for the environment and will deliver sustainable economic benefits for Reef communities too.

“As the poll results show, a strong, well-funded plan to protect the Reef is considered vital by many Queenslanders,” she said.

Source: marineconservation, July 22, 2013

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