The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has expressed alarm at the extent to which the Queensland government is putting the interests of the mining sector over the interests of ordinary Queenslanders and the Great Barrier Reef.
Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said Mr Newman was completely wrong to say the Reef was ‘pretty healthy now’ as reported during a speech to the Queensland Resources Council yesterday.
His statement contradicts the Australian government’s Outlook report which states that the Reef is in poor health and declining, with threats including poor water quality, port development and climate change.
“The government’s determination to press ahead with port expansions, more dredging in the World Heritage Area and dumping on sensitive wetlands will only make matters worse,” said Ms Wishart.
“And it is pursuing a misguided ‘all the eggs in one basket’ strategy to prop up a struggling mining industry where coal prices have dropped dramatically and thousands of jobs have been shed.
“Premier Newman’s speech that Queensland is ‘in the coal business’ ignores 97% of the state’s non-mining economy and exposes his commitment to protect the Reef as a sham.
“The Reef supports a $6 billion tourism industry that generates 69,000 jobs for Queenslanders yet he is putting the coal industry first and risking the Reef.
“Many of the big international banks have walked away from the plans to industrialise the Great Barrier Reef’s coastline, so now the government plans to use tax payer funds to conduct dredging and pay for the mining industry’s rail line.
“We agree with the Premier that ‘the Reef is the state’s best asset’, so why is the government doing so much to put it at risk of being placed on the World Heritage Committee ‘In Danger’ List?” concluded Ms Wishart.