The Queensland Resources Council, in media stories, is selectively citing pre-existing problems in order to divert efforts from addressing the fastest growing new threat to the Great Barrier Reef – industrialisation, Australian Marine Conservation Society reported.
Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, said a new research paper did not consider proposed new and expanded ports.
“An Australian Institute of Marine Science study of river flows conducted over the past 10 years found high levels of sediment from agricultural run-off impacted directly on the Reef,” Ms Wishart said.
“But the Reef is facing a new imminent threat, from the planned construction of new or expanded ports, which will involve over 100 million tonnes of dredging and dumping, and increased shipping.
“The Reef is in a fragile state and the cumulative impacts of this industrial expansion will turn up the pressure on the Reef and the marine life that calls it home.
“These developments primarily benefit the mining sector and they undermine the health of the Reef.
“It’s unacceptable for the mining industry to try to blame the farmers for all sediment problems when their plans for over 100 million tonnes of dredging and dumping will also put huge amounts of fine sediments in the Reef’s waters.
“If there was adequate protection in place for the Reef, industry wouldn’t need a million dollar campaign to try to glaze over the public’s fears over dredging, dumping and port expansion.
“Industry wants the status quo to continue, where Australian governments favour the interests of the mining industry over stronger protection for the Reef.
“Government has been investing in the Reef Rescue program, working with farmers to reduce nutrient and sediment loads in Reef catchments, a program which conservationists called for a decade ago.
“The last thing we need is a study in another 10 years’ time revealing the Reef’s health is worse because we allowed industrial port expansion today,” Ms Wishart said.
Press release, May 30, 2014; Image: Wikimedia