“What kind of Environment Minister begs the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to ignore the pleas of ordinary Queenslanders to protect the reef? asked Greens spokesperson Andrew Bartlett today.
Greens candidate for Dawson, Jonathon Dykyj says Labor and the LNP are continuing the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef through their inconsistent and back-flipping approaches.
Greens candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj is responding to outrageous attacks from George Christensen. Mr Christensen has labelled the Greens as extreme for standing up to port developers who are treating our reef as a dumping ground and a coal and gas highway.
The same day that the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, acted to boost environment laws to give himself the power to stop the supertrawler, the ALP Government and the Coalition also voted to continue their plan to give away responsibility to protect Australian icons like the Great Barrier Reef.
Last night’s explosive UNESCO State of Conservation Report and draft decisions on the Great Barrier Reef is a slap in the face for the federal and Queensland governments, who must now stop their dredging, dumping and shipping frenzy to avoid the international embarrassment of a World Heritage in Danger listing within 8 months.
Australia’s largest coal mine was today approved by the Queensland Government, which is devastating news for the climate, the Great Barrier Reef and communities suffering cost of living pressures from the mining boom, said the Australian Greens.
In a reprieve for the environment, the climate and the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland Government has decided that the massive coal export facility expansion, planned to make Abbot Point the largest coal port in the world, is deeply flawed and unviable.
New research identifying greater dangers for whales from the Government’s plans for increased fossil fuel exports should cause the federal Environment Minister to review existing approvals and press pause on further approvals for controversial port expansions in Queensland, said the Australian Greens today.
This latest research indicates areas close to ports marked for large expansions as critical for humpback whales, and will be verified with further aerial studies to be released by the end of the year.
“Senate Estimates showed shipping movements are expected to increase more than three-fold, due to these massive port expansions for fossil fuel exports,” Greens environment spokesperson and former environmental lawyer Senator Larissa Waters said.
“With more than 11,700 shipping movements projected – more than one every hour – and this new research about critical whale areas, it’s highly likely that we will be seeing more humpback adults and babies being injured or killed due to collisions with coal and gas tankers.
“The Australian Government can’t have it both ways – they can’t turn our World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef into a coal and gas highway without severely damaging the environmental values for which the Reef was listed in the first place.
“The Environment Minister should wait for the results of these further whale studies before issuing any more port approvals.
“Likewise the Minister should reconsider existing port approvals when this ‘significant new information’ about whale impacts is published.
“If the Minister says this research is not ‘significant new information' which would allow him to reconsider approvals, this determination could be challenged in the courts.”