Senate debates

Monday, 17 September 2012


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Bill 2012; Second Reading

6:16 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President, that is precisely what I am doing. I am talking about the selective application of the precautionary principle, which has been applied for the super trawler but not in countless other instances.

As I was saying, UNESCO have said that unless we change direction on the reef it will put the reef on the World Heritage 'in danger' list by March. The government's response was to commit to a strategic assessment which they say promises to ensure development proceeds in a way that our reef can survive, but it has holes so big you can drive a coal ship through it. The strategic assessment will not be able to affect whether current developments, including those six ports, are approved. Project assessments and approvals will continue business as usual.

Time and time again the Greens have called for a moratorium on reef port development until a decent strategic assessment is done and we actually know what the reef and its delicate ecosystems can handle. The government claims it cannot put a moratorium on because it does not have the power. We disagree, but if the government is correct, why is it not moving to give itself powers like it has done with the Margiris? Why does the reef not deserve a precautionary approach, as has been taken with the Margiris? The uncertainties and the risks of irreversible harm are without question—


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