A new national poll shows the majority of Australians believe the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef has lost out to industrial development over past decades.
Two-thirds of the community (66%) holds the view that the national icon’s World Heritage status makes it more important for protection by Australian governments.
The polling of more than 1500 people by Essential Research shows the widespread concern about the Reef translates into strong community support, with 61% urging governments to make its protection a top priority.
“This poll demonstrates the Australian community’s clear demand of the Federal and Queensland governments – do all you can to protect the international treasure of the Great Barrier Reef,” said Rick Leck, Program Manager – Coral Triangle at WWF Australia.
“In a week’s time, the World Heritage Committee will hold a crucial vote that could help stop the rapid industrial development of the Reef.
“The majority of Australians want to see the Federal and Queensland governments take that international World Heritage responsibility seriously and end all unacceptable risks to the Reef’s future,” he said.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia have in recent days launched a new advertising campaign featuring Bob Irwin calling on all Australians to help safeguard the Great Barrier Reef from rapid industrialisation.
The advertisments will call on all Australians to join the fight to protect the Reef from damaging port expansions with their associated dredging, dumping and increased shipping risk.
“The community is not convinced by government claims that port expansion such as Abbot Point won’t harm the Reef. They know it will put further pressure on the health of the Reef,” Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director at Australian Marine Conservation Society.
“Local and International pressure is mounting for our governments to stop looking for loopholes and watering down environmental protections. They want action to stop industrial development and improve the Reef’s health.
“With the World Heritage Committee meeting only a week away, the eyes of the world are firmly on the Australian and Queensland governments to dramatically lift their game,” she said.
Press Release, June 11, 2014