Great Barrier Reef
Last Friday, the Environment Minister Tony Burke effectively told UNESCO, ‘don’t worry, be happy’, in response to grave concerns about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
Burke’s response follows a UNESCO investigation of the Reef conducted in June last year. At that time UNESCO requested that Australia “not permit development that would impact on the outstanding universal value of the Reef”. UNESCO also warned that the Reef was at risk of being added to the list of World Heritage sites that are “in danger”.
In addition to longstanding problems associated with agricultural run-off and plagues of crown of thorns starfish, the Great Barrier Reef is now under imminent threat from expansion by Queensland’s out of control coal industry. Staggeringly, there are currently proposals for nine new coal export terminals and associated infrastructure for the Great Barrier Reef coast.
Latest 2 of 30 commentsView all comments
When you take on a job like being Environment Minister there’s some hits you can see coming. You expect you’ll get a whack when you protect an endangered plant which if people saw in their garden, they’d presume was a weed. You know there’ll be some red hot political point scoring if jobs are meant to be put at risk to make way for the interests of some thrice mutated rare frog.
But what I never expected was to have the Queensland Liberal National Party go after me for wanting to look after koalas and the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman had turned up to his first COAG meeting with the other Premiers and the Prime Minister saying he’d be willing to help speed up processing times for business by enforcing the national environmental standards when he gives state approvals. But only a fortnight later he flicked the switch from wanting to enforce those standards to wanting to tear them down.
Latest 2 of 52 commentsView all comments
I’ve been told that some people don’t associate the Greens with money, people or facts. So I’m starting this piece on the Great Barrier Reef with some facts about money and people:
5.1 billion dollars. This is how much Great Barrier Reef tourism contributes to the Australian economy every year.
54,000. That’s how many people are employed full-time in Great Barrier Reef industries, mostly tourism.
3 million. That’s the number of visitors who come to see this World Heritage icon every year, about 2.1 million domestic and nearly 900,000 international visitors to gateway towns.
5 billion dollars. This is the Government’s estimated value of the “ecosystem services” the Reef provides every year – cleaner air, cleaner water. And we get it for free.
Extraordinary, isn’t it? And this awesome economic powerhouse is just sitting on the doorstep of Queensland. Here are some more Great Barrier Reef numbers, which you might find extraordinary for different reasons:
Latest 2 of 71 commentsView all comments
Today The Punch team has each selected two issues which get us hot under the collar, and which we feel deserve more airplay.
What are your thoughts on the issues we’ve chosen? And what other issues do you think we should all be talking about?
Latest 2 of 249 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…