AMCS: Reef Rescue Plan Must Address Industrialisation Impacts (Australia)
Despite mentioning the Great Barrier Reef during the people’s forum and in election campaign appearances, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has missed the opportunity to address the most important new threat to the Reef in the ALP policy announced today.
The World Heritage Committee, scientists, fishers, tourism operators and the local community are all very worried about the impact of industrialisation on the Reef.
Last month, a poll of nine Queensland electorates along the Reef coast and South East Queensland found a majority of people (73.2%) wanted a ban on dumping dredge waste in the waters of the Reef’s World Heritage Area.
Yet the announcement today does not include strong protection to limit the impacts of ports, dredging and dumping or other industrialisation on the Reef, according to Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef campaign director with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
“You can’t have a credible ‘reef rescue’ plan without addressing the destructive impacts of rapid industrialisation being driven largely by plans to export more coal,” Ms Wishart said today.
“While we welcome the commitments announced today to tackle poor Reef water quality, support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and create a ‘Reef Bank’ to help fund protection of the Reef, this policy will do nothing to rein in the plans for 5 mega ports and more dredging, dumping and shipping through the Reef.
“It’s a missed opportunity that could hasten the destruction of the much-loved natural wonder.
“The ALP previously supported a Greens motion in the Senate in June 2013 to end the practice of dumping dredge spoil on the Reef but it has fallen far short by failing to follow through with an election commitment for the ban.
“Neither major party is in step with community concerns for the future of the Reef.”
Press Release, August 30, 2013