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Greens establish Senate Inquiry into management of Great Barrier Reef

The Senate has passed the Greens’ proposal for a Senate Inquiry into the management of the Great Barrier Reef today.

“Our Great Barrier Reef is under more pressure than ever before with an onslaught of mining industrialisation and our inquiry will get all of the impacts out into the open,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“Tourism operators from the Whitsundays have come all the way to Canberra today to call on the Abbott Government to stop risking their livelihoods by allowing dredge spoil dumping in the Reef.

“We’ve seen the fishing and tourism industries brought to their knees in Gladstone following dredging and dumping, and now the Abbott Government is threatening Abbot Point, near the Whitsundays, with the same fate.

“The Abbott Government approved 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil dumping at Abbot Point to build the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef.

“With five new or expanded ports proposed, and the Abbott and Newman governments at the helm, the Reef is in danger of becoming a dump ground for dredge spoil and a shipping super highway.

“Unsurprisingly, Tony Abbott’s Coalition senators voted against our Reef Inquiry, even though  the World Heritage Committee is warning the Reef’s international status could be downgraded to ‘In Danger.’

“An ‘In Danger’ listing would devastate the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry and threaten the jobs of the 63 000 people who rely on a healthy Reef for their employment.

“Our inquiry is an important opportunity to save the Reef and the livelihoods that rely on it by bringing together expert advice and local knowledge to generate a body of evidence that even Tony Abbott won’t be able to ignore,” Senator Waters said.

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