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Great Barrier Reef report card ignores World Heritage Committee’s dredging and dumping concerns

The Abbott and Newman governments’ Great Barrier Reef report card out today shows that the good work of farmers reducing their runoff is being undermined by the big mining companies directly dumping sediment into the Reef.

“Despite welcome gains in reducing agricultural runoff, the Reef’s inshore water quality remains poor, which will only get worse with mass dredging and dumping planned for the Reef’s coastline,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“The Abbott and Newman governments are completely undermining the good work of farmers reducing their Reef runoff, by allowing the big mining companies to dump millions of tonnes of sediment directly into the Reef’s World Heritage waters.

“The notion that Minister Powell can somehow allay the World Heritage Committee’s concerns about all of the dredging and dumping set to go ahead, especially at Abbot Point, with this report about current water quality, is ridiculous.

“The Reef is facing an ‘In Danger’ listing because it is being industrialised for the big mining companies and this report does nothing to address that.

“What’s more, the Abbott government has cut $40 million in funding from the federal program to reduce agricultural runoff, Reef Rescue, and put that money into a thought bubble policy, Reef Trust, the details of which have not been worked out.

“Ripping money out of a proven program for an ill-defined experiment is bad news for the Reef.

“The Abbott and Newman governments are happy to accept extreme weather is threatening the Reef but refuse to accept that climate change is driving extreme weather, and that climate change is driven by coal exports, for which all the dredging and dumping is happening. 

“It’s about time they put the Reef and the 63,000 jobs it provides ahead of the interests of the big mining companies,” Senator Waters said.

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