Friday, 01 February 2013 09:46
Two green groups are calling on both governments to immediately suspend approvals for all new major coal and gas developments on the Great Barrier Reef.
As part of their joint Fight for the Reef campaign, the World Wildlife Fund Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society today released a scorecard which criticised both the Commonwealth and Queensland governments’ efforts in managing the Reef and outlined the threats they believe the area faces from proposed mining developments.
The campaign warns 45 proposed developments - including large-scale coal and gas projects - could bring thousands more ships to the reef.
World Wildlife Fund Australia campaign director Richard Leck said the sheer size and speed of port and associated development along the Reef coast was unprecedented.
“There’s more dredging, more ships and more turtles and coral dying,” he said.
The federal government was also blasted for making no progress on recommendations handed down by the United Nations relating to pollution from catchments and port developments.
Mr Leck said the government had failed to address the United Nations’ concerns and Australia was in grave danger of losing the reef's world heritage title.
“Instead of strengthening legislation to protect the Reef, the Queensland Government has moved to weaken legislation, which flies in the face of the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations,” he said.
“The impact of that would be felt right throughout Queensland’s economy.”
The World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Marine Conservation Society are calling on both governments to immediately implement a moratorium on approvals for all new major development until there is a sustainable and well-funded plan for the Reef’s future.
The groups are also calling on the Australian Government to commit $500 million to reduce Reef pollution.
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