Australian Governments must do more to keep UNESCO from declaring the Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’ including bold action on climate change and water quality, according to the Greens.
Co-deputy leader and Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said, “The Reef report out today is an exercise in spin and not enough work has been done to ensure the natural icon’s long-term survival.
“The World Heritage Committee gave Australia homework four years ago, to show why the Reef shouldn’t be listed as “in danger”.
“In that time, half the coral cover of the Reef has bleached to death and its outlook has been downgraded to “very poor”, while the Federal government has refused to address climate change and has questioned Reef water science. They have failed their homework.
“An honest Reef report would read – the reef is cooked unless we boldly and quickly ramp up rescue efforts.
“Yet, rather than taking strong action to address climate change, the Australian government in this report is saying it’s everybody else’s problem, after having lobbied for climate change to be removed as a consideration in World Heritage In danger listings.
“On water quality the Australian Government has paid lip service to the issue whilst under funding water quality measure and establishing a Senate inquiry questioning the science behind water quality regulations.
“This Government is at war with science and the Reef will suffer for it.
“The World Heritage Committee will follow the money - they will see that the generous donations from the coal and gas industries are being prioritised ahead of acting on climate change to protect the Reef and the 64,000 jobs that rely on it,” she said.
Greens Member for Maiwar Michael Berkman said, “The most recent Reef Outlook Report clearly showed climate change and water quality are the two biggest threats to our Reef.
“You can’t send the UN a glossy report pretending everything’s fine when the Australian Government’s own report downgraded the long-term outlook for the Reef to "very poor" for the first time.
“The Queensland Government is also in denial with its support for new coal and gas projects, including Adani’s new coal mine and the entire Galilee Basin. You can’t have both a healthy reef and new climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects in Queensland.
“The future of one of the wonders of the world, and the 64,000 jobs and the communities that rely on it, should not be a political plaything for both Coalition and Labor governments,” he said.
Australian Govt report on Great Barrier Reef available here: