Back to All News

The choice is simple – coal or the Reef?

The Australian Greens are calling for urgent climate action based on advice by Professor Terry Hughes, co-author of new research in Science on poor management of World Heritage areas, including the Great Barrier Reef.

"The Abbott and Palaszczuk governments need to take heed of this serious warning from one of the world's leading coral reef scientists," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"Based on the science, the choice is simple - coal or the Reef?

"Professor Hughes says digging up the Galilee Basin while keeping a healthy Reef is an ‘impossible task'.

"But both the Abbott and Palaszczuk governments are pushing for hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal to be dug up out of the Galilee Basin and exported through our Reef.

"Dredging our Reef to enable more coal ships to treat it like a fossil fuel highway will come back to bite this precious global icon, which is already struggling from climate change, through more coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

"If the Galilee Basin was a country, burning all of its coal would make it the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gas on the planet.

"With the coal price tanking, and the mining industry shedding jobs, the Abbott and Palaszczuk governments' coal obsession doesn't make economic sense either.

"We have viable renewable alternatives that will provide sustainable jobs and won't cost the 69 000 jobs that rely on a healthy Reef.

"While the Greens welcome improvements in regulation of offshore dumping of dredge spoil, both state and federal governments shamefully continue to ignore dredging, shipping and climate impacts from coal on our Great Barrier Reef.

"If the Abbott and Palaszczuk governments want to keep the Reef off the ‘In Danger' list and prevent more extreme weather events, they must keep the Galilee Basin coal in the ground," Senator Waters said.


Back to All News