A new national opinion poll conducted by Essential Research demonstrates that four in every five Australians want dredging and dumping banned in the Great Barrier Reef.
Key results include:
– 80 per cent of people agreed that dredging and dumping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should be banned;
– 69 per cent of people agreed that the Great Barrier Reef has lost out to development whereas 17 per cent of people think the coal industry should be allowed to develop new ports and LNG plants on the Great Barrier Reef even if it causes the Reef some damage.
Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director for the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said: “We should not be conducting dredging and dumping in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.”
“Currently there are plans to dredge over 45 million cubic metres of seabed in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Wishart said.
“We know that when the dredge material is dumped at sea, it can spread for vast distances covering coral and affecting water quality.
“The state government is fast tracking port expansions that require this dredging.
“Right now, Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt is weighing up whether to approve three million cubic metres of dredging at Abbot Point, less than 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands.
“People come from around the world to see a healthy Reef and to dive in its clear blue waters.
“If the dredging and dumping continues, against the interests of most Australians, it puts a $6 billion tourism industry and 63,000 jobs at risk.
“The poll asked people to choose – either support for the coal mining industry despite port expansion impacts on the Reef, or support to put the Reef ahead of industrial development.
“Two thirds of people think the Reef should come first.
“The Reef deserves the highest environmental protection. And that does not mean dredging and dumping in the Reef’s waters.
“We have to ask ourselves, after the mining boom has bust, will we still have a healthy Reef?” concluded Ms Wishart.
Press Release, October 16, 2013