Nearly all of us live near Queensland's coasts. We don't need to be told how important they are to our enjoyment of life and our economy. Then why don't the old parties get that? They're putting almost all our coasts at risk by allowing (even encouraging) massive over-development of some Queensland ports and they're gambling with disastrous oil spills by permitting shipping in the Great Barrier Reef.
All this at a time when most fish species are in decline, turtle and dugongs are dying in record numbers and pollution and other impacts have killed half the Great Barrier Reef's coral.
What are they thinking? How can we go on trusting the old parties with our most precious assets?
The Queensland Greens will:
Protect the Great Barrier Reef and Moreton Bay
- Extend the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan to 2020;
- Ban diuron and other toxic runoff chemicals to improve water quality and protect human and marine health. By 2020;
- Give farmers incentives to adopt best-management programs that increase their income while reducing runoff;
- Make laws that stop runoff from new developments.
Protect the rest of Queensland's coasts and communities
- Stop major Great Barrier Reef coastal developments until independent scientific assessment shows any impacts are acceptable;
- Establish clear no-go areas so resources aren't wasted where development is not permissible;
- Halting dredging in Gladstone Harbour until the cause of disease in marine animals has been identified and turbidity and contaminated sediments ruled out as causes;
- Funding longitudinal scientific investigation of the downstream effects of the Fitzroy Catchment on the delta, Keppel Bay and surrounding areas as recommended by Prof Barry Hart.
Protect commercial fishing, turtle and dugongs
- Maintain existing protection for marine areas;
- Remove commercial fishing nets where they kill turtles, dolphins or dugongs;
- Assist trawl and reef line fisheries to give them a solid future and support those parts of the industry that meet the global standards of the Marine Stewardship Council;
- Assist fisheries to install satellite tracking in all commercial fishing vessels.
Support Traditional Owner management of sea country
- Employ 30 rangers in local coastal communities to improve the management of sea country and the protection of key species such as dugongs and turtles.
Why the Queensland Greens propose these reforms:
- Queensland’s oceans and beaches are a key part of our economy and lifestyle, and are reliant on healthy coastal ecosystems;
- Our marine ecosystems are under threat – fish species are in decline, turtle and dugongs are dying in record numbers, and the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover in the last 50 years from pollution and other impacts;
- With 85% of Queenslanders living near the coast, and many more visiting, we need much improved legislation and funding to ensure that we can protect our coast for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a critical role to play in managing sea country and protecting key species such as turtles and dugongs;
- Better management of protected areas is vital for preserving biodiversity and ecological processes, including our fish and marine mammals;
- Farmers and commercial fishers are important custodians of our resources, and should be supported to ensure their practices are sustainable, so that the same resources will be available in the future.