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Great Barrier Reef in danger, government in denial

Media Release
Adam Bandt 22 Jun 2021

The Greens have slammed the government’s knee-jerk climate denialism as the world delivers yet another stark warning that we risk losing the Great Barrier Reef.

Quotes attributable to Greens Leader, Adam Bandt:

“It’s coal or the reef, but you can’t have both. 

“The Great Barrier Reef is under threat because of the mining and burning of coal and gas. 

“We have ten years to save the Reef, but on the same day the Reef is put on death watch, Liberal and Labor support opening up new gas fields.

“Barnaby Joyce has been brought back from the dead to kill the Reef. He has been brought back to fight for the billionaires, like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, who want to build more coal mines in the Galilee Basin. 

“If the world heats up over 1.5 degrees, the Reef will die. The only party in Australia with climate targets in line with 1.5 degrees is the Greens.

Quotes attributable to Greens Queensland Senator and co-Deputy Leader, Larissa Waters:

“It’s a cruel irony that on the day that the World Heritage Committee has, after eight years of warnings, recommended that the Great Barrier Reef be declared ‘in danger’, that a reactionary climate-denier has been elevated to the second-highest office in the land.

“The government’s claims that it’s been blindsided by this news are laughable. UNESCO has been warning since 2012 that the Reef could be placed on the ‘In Danger’ list, and while the government has twiddled its thumbs 50% of the Reef’s coral cover has been lost.

“More than 60,000 people rely on the Reef for employment and yet the government, which talks a big game about jobs, is prepared to let an entire industry die while it lets its fossil fuel donors dig and burn their way to climate catastrophe.

“Queenslanders and Australians have had enough of the Morrison government’s climate denial, they’ve had enough of them ruling for the billionaires and doing favours for big corporations, and I cannot wait until they’re condemned to the opposition benches. Bring on the election.”

Quotes attributable to Greens Environment Spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young:

“Australia’s Environment Minister says her government was “blindsided” by the UN declaring the Great Barrier Reef “in danger”. 

“No, Ley wasn't ‘blindsided’ she had her eyes closed, ignored the science and kept taking donations from the fossil fuel industry.

“The Great Barrier Reef is in danger. The world knows it. They're worried. Yet here in Australia the Government constantly ignores all the warning signs. 

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our environment and yet the government still doesn't have a plan to reduce pollution.

Quotes attributable to Greens Oceans Spokesperson, Peter Whish-Wilson:

“The Government granted $443.4 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to avoid a UNESCO ‘in-danger’ listing, following an explicit warning in 2017 from the UNESCO Committee that this was pending.
 
“At the time it seemed absurd that a small private business was given the go-ahead to manage one of Australia’s greatest public assets, which is why in 2018-19 the Greens initiated and chaired a Senate inquiry into the suspicious grant.
 
“After months of hearing evidence, the National Audit Office disclosed the original motivation of the grant was to avoid an UNESCO World Heritage “in danger” listing.
 
“The whole Senate inquiry could have been avoided if the Government had come clean about the true motivations for setting up the grant. Clearly they wanted to avoid the global political embarrassment of having UNESCO downgrade the world heritage values of our planet’s greatest coral reef system.
 
“Having the Great Barrier Reef declared as ‘in danger’ will potentially lead to similar listings for other reefs around the world. This would be the loudest siren call ever to protect our oceans – and perhaps this is necessary for us to take the radical action needed to save our oceans.
 

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