The draft Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, released today, does nothing to stop the onslaught of dredging and dumping already applied for along the Reef’s coast and the mass export of coal through the Reef to exacerbate climate change, say the Australian Greens.
“The plan ignores the fact that exporting millions of tonnes of coal out through the Reef will exacerbate climate change, the biggest threat facing this iconic World Heritage Area,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“The plan adopts the Queensland Ports Strategy, which doesn’t protect the Reef from capital dredging and dumping projects in Cairns, Townsville and Gladstone – the very ones that the World Heritage Committee has expressed concern about.
“Like the Queensland Ports Strategy, as well as not protecting the Reef from dredging and dumping already applied for, the plan does not restrict future dredging and dumping at any major ports, which are classified as Priority Port Development Areas.
“The Abbott and Newman governments are once again giving the big mining companies absolutely everything they want, while trying to fool the rest of us into thinking something has changed.
“All this plan delivers is vague targets without firm actions or new funding commitments to achieve them.
“Queenslanders won’t be fooled – this plan does nothing to stop the onslaught of dredging and dumping already applied for in our Great Barrier Reef.
“We need an immediate and permanent ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef and I currently have a bill in the federal Parliament to achieve this.
“We’ve already had three warnings from the World Heritage Committee that the Reef could be placed on the ‘In Danger’ list and we might not be granted another chance.
“If the Abbott Government genuinely doesn’t want the Reef to end up on the ‘In Danger’ list, which would be a disaster for the tourism industry, it should support my bill for an immediate and permanent ban on offshore dumping in this precious World Heritage Area,” Senator Waters said.