Australian Academy of Science has warned that a draft plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef won’t prevent its decline and fails to address key pressures affecting the Australian icon.
In its submission to the Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, the Academy warns that the draft plan fails to effectively address any of the key pressures on the reef including climate change, poor water quality, coastal development and fishing.
Hereby we are bringing you the Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche’s response on the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan after a group questioned the ports strategy.
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW
Q: What is your response to the Academy of Science’s claims this morning?
We welcome all contributions to making the Reef 2050 Plan an even better plan, that’s why it was put out for public comment. We welcome contributions from the Academy of Science and indeed we encourage all contributions to this important plan.
Q: Are you confident the plan will help to protect the GBR?
A: This is the most comprehensive forward-looking plan for the Great Barrier Reef that we’ve ever seen in Australia’s history. This is a very comprehensive plan, it’s been put together by a whole range of sectors, it’s not just a government plan, we had at the time agriculture, tourism, fishing, conservation, indigenous groups, scientists, as well as the resources sector and the ports.
Q: So Professor Hughes has questioned whether port expansion and subsequent dredging isn’t needed, what’s your response?
A: I understand that Professor Hughes lives in Townsville. I understand that Professor Hughes owns a motor vehicle. I would bet that motor vehicle arrived at the Port of Townsville by ship. That’s how North Queensland motor vehicles are distributed throughout the state. Indeed, Professor Hughes probably requires petroleum for his motor vehicle. That arrives at the Port of Townsville for distribution around North Queensland. Ports are essential to the economies to the north of the state, both as important export ports but also for bringing in essential supplies for those who live in the north of this state.
Q: Do you think the draft plan should be revised?
A: The plan was put out for public comment. We’re hoping that the final plan will be an even better plan, courtesy of contributions, of groups like the Academy of Science. So we welcome all inputs to make this a better plan. And I’m very confident that this will be a plan that will be very convincing to the rest of the world that we’re on top of the task of turning around the health of the reef.