UNESCO gave the Australian Government until 1 February 2013 to respond to a list of recommendations to better protect the Reef, and keep it off the In Danger list.
That day has come – yet key recommendations have been ignored. The Australian and Queensland governments have continued to treat the Reef like a coal and gas highway and a rubbish tip for dredge spoil, and risk a fail mark from UNESCO on their Reef homework – and the downgrading of World Heritage listing to In Danger, which would jeaopardise the $6 bil tourism economy around our Reef and the 54,000 jobs it supports.
UNESCO’s recommendations were simple. Yet the Government hasn’t pushed pause on new or expanded coal and gas ports, hasn’t declared pristine Port Alma and its indigenous dolphins off-limits and hasn’t done independent studies into the Gladstone Harbour fish and wildlife disease disaster using independent data.
What’s more, the flimsy strategic assessment the Government has begun won’t be able to stop any of the coal ports UNESCO had ‘extreme concern’ about, and will end with Campbell ‘in the coal business’ Newman having sole approval powers over new developments in the Reef.
To make matters worse, the Queensland Government is now treating the Reef like a toilet bowl and letting the big miners dump contaminated wastewater into waterways that flow to the Reef rather than require them to spend the money to treat the water, further risking a World Heritage in Danger listing for our most precious tourism icon.
We need your help to make the future of our Great Barrier Reef an election issue. The choice is stark - between greed and care, between dredging, dumping and shipping for new and expanded coal exports and protecting the Reef and the coastal communities who rely on it, between the old parties and the Greens.
Please write to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and ask him to:
1. stop approving dredging, dumping and shipping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area until the strategic assessment is complete and we know what the science tells us is sustainable; and
2. as the Federal Environment Minister, keep the powers to protect this nation icon, rather than giving them away to Campbell Newman.
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