The Australian Marine Conservation Society has expressed alarm following comments made by former Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the Queensland government asked him to ignore risks to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, as revealed on AM Agenda yesterday.
Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said the State government’s policies are putting port development ahead of environmental protection or good economic sense.
“The Queensland government continues to fast track the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef with plans for five mega ports, dredging, dumping and increased shipping along the Reef’s coastline,” Ms Wishart said.
“The Queensland government is pushing to expand existing ports which are not currently fully utilised, many of which we may never need, but will damage the Reef.
“The Federal government is now preparing to abandon their responsibility and pass approval powers for major developments to Queensland. This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
“Governments have a role to protect the Reef. The Queensland government is saying that they don’t want to protect the Reef, and the federal government are now walking away for the job.
“Both governments are ignoring their responsibility to the people who elected them because no one was elected on a platform to ruin the Reef.”
Press Release, October 21, 2013