The Australian Greens welcome Australian Academy of Science’s strong warning today that the Abbott and Newman governments’ Reef 2050 Plan fails to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
“The science is clear – the Abbott and Newman governments’ plan for our Great Barrier Reef grossly fails this World Heritage Area,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“The Academy rightly points out that the Reef Plan is a business-as-usual approach that allows the expansion of new threats to the Reef, including dredging and fossil fuel export.
“The Academy’s response to the plan highlights its complete failure to address climate change, even though the plan itself identifies this as one of the biggest threats to the Reef.
“While paying lip service to the impact of climate change on the Reef, the Abbott and Newman governments have approved the world’s largest coal port in the Reef and one of the world’s biggest coal mines in the Galilee Basin.
“The hundreds of mega tonnes of coal approved to be shipped out through the Reef by the Abbott and Newman governments will come back to bite this World Heritage Area through coral bleaching and ocean acidification.
“The Academy is recommending that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority be empowered and properly resourced.
“But the Abbott Government has cut funding to the Reef Authority and the Abbot Point sea dumping decision was made amid considerable political pressure.
“The Abbott and Newman governments need to start listening to the science, the tourism and fishing industries, the community and the World Heritage Committee.
“It’s simply not acceptable to anyone but the big mining companies for Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman to let the Reef be treated as a dumping ground for dredge spoil and a shipping super highway.
“If the Abbott Government wants to save the Reef from an ‘In Danger’ listing, it should back my bill to ban offshore dumping and stop taking backward steps on climate action,” Senator Waters said.