World Heritage Day is a wake-up call to save the internationally renowned Great Barrier Reef from the devastating impacts of mass dredging, dumping and shipping for fossil fuel exports which the Federal Government’s strategic assessment won’t fix, the Australian Greens said today.
“It’s appalling that the greed for fossil fuel exports from both the Australian and the Queensland Governments could now see the Great Barrier Reef listed as World Heritage in Danger, which would put Australia on a par with war-torn countries as Yemen, Congo and Afghanistan,” Environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“Campbell Newman says he finds it offensive to suggest that UNESCO cares more about the Reef than the Queensland Government – his comments beggar belief, when the Premier and his ministers want to de-list Gladstone harbour from the World Heritage Area, where the dredging is already causing an environmental crisis, rather than fixing the crisis.
“Changing the World Heritage boundaries would be an international embarrassment and an affront to all Australians concerned about the Reef becoming a coal and gas highway and a marine rubbish dump, threatening the Reef’s 67,000 jobs and $7 billion annual income.
“On this World Heritage Day, we need to re-think this disastrous course of action and stop issuing new approvals for dredging and dumping until we do a proper assessment of what the Reef can handle – not a politically-driven assessment which ignores projects currently on the books, ignores cumulative impacts and ignores the impacts of dams and agriculture.”
Senator Waters’ submission on the deficiencies of the Terms of Reference for the GBRMPA marine strategic assessment and the strategic assessment of coastal impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area can be viewed here;