To save the Great Barrier Reef from an ‘In Danger’ listing, the Abbott Government needs to follow the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations, instead of telling other countries to back off, as reported today.
“The best way to avoid a World Heritage ‘In Danger’ listing, which would be a disaster for our tourism industry, is to do what the World Heritage Committee is asking, instead of trying to lobby and bully other countries,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“Even though the World Heritage Committee recommended a moratorium on damaging developments, the pace of approvals has continued unabated, with the Abbott Government approving two Galilee Basin mega mines to export through the Reef.
“The Committee recommended no damaging port expansions, but the Abbott Government went ahead and approved the world’s largest coal port at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef.
“Now the government is trying to rush through a Newman Government proposal to dump the Abbot Point coal port dredge sludge on or near nationally significant wetlands bordering the Reef.
“The Abbott Government has failed to ban new ports in pristine areas, as requested by the Committee, and instead the Newman Government is allowing port development in multiple areas of the Reef, without ruling out pristine areas
“The Committee also asked the government for a long-term plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
“But what the Abbott Government came up with as a plan has been slammed by the Australian Academy of Science for ignoring climate change and allowing the expansion of dredging and fossil fuel export.
“Even though the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report clearly identifies that climate change is the biggest threat to the Reef, the Abbott Government is determined to ship masses of coal through this World Heritage Area.
“It’s sadly ironic that Minister Bishop is trying to gloss over the impact of exporting hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal through the Great Barrier Reef while at international talks to try to save the world’s climate.
“The blame for the World Heritage ‘In Danger’ threat rests squarely with the Abbott Government and its big mining company buddies.
“But the Abbott Government is trying to blame Australians who love the Reef and who don’t want to see it become a super highway for coal ships for its own failure to protect this World Heritage icon,” Senator Waters said.