Communist Party of Australia

We acknowledge the Sovereignty of the First Nations’ Peoples.

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Issue #1611      September 18, 2013

Great Barrier Reef

Future in hands of new parliament

We don’t know how our new government will handle their custodianship of this global treasure … but what we do know is that we are a strong and resilient movement of people who will stand up for the Reef when it counts most.

Thank you for all your hard work says Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart. “What you have achieved is extraordinary:

“You’ve sent thousands of emails to candidates in electorates all across Australia asking them to sign the Reef Pledge for stronger protection of the Reef.”

People also organised friends and colleagues to visit their local candidates with a face-to-face call to action. Also 3,500 plus supporters marched through Brisbane streets in the largest environmental rally the city had seen in recent years.

“Our community secured a commitment from the Greens to support a ban on dumping dredge spoils in the Reef’s World Heritage waters.”

Both the Coalition and Labor parties committed more funds to improving water quality from farm runoff, tackling outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish and actions to better protect turtles and dugongs.

“We got their attention and they were forced to respond.

“Together, we are a formidable force of thousands with proven determination and passion to fight for the Reef. The new government may think they have done enough, but they will need to do a lot, lot more.

“They can ignore the fact that dredging and dumping in the Reef’s waters and more shipping is bad news for water quality and the Reef, but only if we let them.

“We’ve come this far, but the Fight for the Reef is far from over – in many ways, it’s only just begun.

“I look forward to having you beside me in the battle ahead.”

Meanwhile, the strong growth in interstate visitors to Queensland revealed in the National Visitor Survey released last week can only be maintained or grow if the state’s premier natural attraction is protected, according to the AMCS.

The Great Barrier Reef sustains a $6 billion tourism industry and more than 60,000 local tourism jobs. But how many interstate or international visitors will travel to see a natural wonder damaged or ruined by port development, dredging, dumping or shipping, asks Felicity Wishart.

“The National Visitor Survey tells us more holidaymakers than ever from across Australia are heading north, with some of the strongest visitation growth in Reef communities such as the Tropical North,” Ms Wishart said.

“These tourists and others from across the world come to experience and photograph coral and marine wildlife like turtles and reef fish, not port developments and dredge plumes.

“The Queensland Tourism Industry Council voiced its concern about the impact of coal port growth and increased chemical run-off on the health of the Reef and tourism jobs only last week.

“It is not alone. The World Heritage Committee, local communities, scientists and thousands of people around the world want more done to protect the Reef from the impacts of industrialisation.

“In about nine months the World Heritage Committee will assess whether the Great Barrier Reef will be listed as ‘in danger’ due to inadequate government protection, which would have dire consequences for the tourism industry that relies on it.

“The protection of the Great Barrier Reef can help strengthen local communities and the economy.

“It needs leaders in both the Queensland and Australian government who will recognise and support that potential; and reject plans for mega ports, dredging, dumping and increased shipping,” Ms Wishart said.


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