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Greens move for Senate Inquiry on Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Greens are moving for a Senate Inquiry into the management of the Great Barrier Reef and are calling on the other parties to support the inquiry.

“Our inquiry would examine whether the mounting threats to the Reef are being properly managed or whether pressure from the mining industry, driving the unprecedented industrialisation, will see the Reef’s demise,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“Our Reef is under more pressure than ever before, with five million tonnes of sludge dumping for Abbot Point, pollution from Clive Palmer’s nickel refinery, and fish kills and disease following dredging in Gladstone.

“Due to the onslaught of development, the World Heritage Committee is warning the Reef’s status could be downgraded to ‘World Heritage In Danger’, which would be a disaster for the 63,000 people who rely on the Reef’s health for their jobs.

“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.

“Tragically, this could see the disaster that was the Gladstone Harbour expansion spread across our Reef.

“The tourism and fishing industries are on their knees in Gladstone due to the environmental devastation that followed the massive dredging and dumping project at the harbour.

“This inquiry would allow an independent investigation into the Gladstone disaster that isn’t restricted just to problems with the bund wall, like Minister Hunt’s tunnel-visioned inquiry.

“The inquiry would also investigate the independence of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, given recent revelations about mining interests on the Authority’s board.

“Recently released freedom of information documents show the Authority found internally that the Abbot Point coal port would cause irreversible damage that would be impossible to offset.  

“These documents have raised questions about whether the Authority’s original advice was trumped by political will.

“We need all the evidence and concerns out on the table so that all parties can work together transparently to find a way forward which safeguards our one and only Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Water said.

The Greens’ proposed inquiry will be moved in the Senate tomorrow and voted on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014.

 

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