Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Great Barrier Reef
I want to thank the member for Kennedy for raising this issue and I note his very strong interest. He's mentioned cattle and cane farmers in particular and his great love of the reef, including the time that he has spent snorkelling and diving on the reef, and I don't doubt for a moment that his interest is very sincere, but I think he's got the wrong end of the stick on this one.
The letter that he's referring to is indeed a letter that I wrote. It's not secret. I tabled it in the Senate in July. I'm proud that our government has backed strong action to protect the Great Barrier Reef. We've worked very closely with the Queensland government to do that, and because we've been able to work very closely with the Queensland government—and with farmers, including cane farmers and cattle farmers, and with local government right up along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef, and with tourism operators, and with fishers, and with a range of other stakeholders—and because of the investments we're making, we actually managed to prevent the Great Barrier Reef being listed as in danger by UNESCO. The member for Kennedy might say, 'Who cares what UNESCO thinks about our Great Barrier Reef?' In one respect, I know what he's saying is that no-one loves the Great Barrier Reef and no-one cares about the Great Barrier Reef more than Australians.