Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Great Barrier Reef
That the Senate—
(i) the recent report of the Australian Coral Reef Society which stated that policies for a safe climate are inconsistent with the opening of new fossil fuel industries like the mega coal mines of the Galilee Basin, and
(ii) the comments of Professor Terry Hughes on ABC Radio that it is an impossible task to open up the mega coal mines of the Galilee Basin while sustaining the Great Barrier Reef for future generations; and
(b) agrees that Galilee Basin coal must stay in the ground in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Climate change affects all reefs and ecosystems worldwide. To suggest that the development of the Galilee Basin is solely responsible for the challenges facing the reef is irresponsible and ignores the science. The government has done more than any other government prior to help the reef. Alongside Queensland, we are investing over $2 billion over the next decade. It was the former Bligh and Gillard Labor-Greens governments that were touting the development of megaports along the reef. Talk is cheap. When Labor and the Greens had the chance to act, they did nothing. On Saturday 21 March this government released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, the most comprehensive plan ever developed to secure the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come. The plan addresses the challenges the reef faces now and into the future and sets clear priorities and targets. In addition, the Australian government announced a further commitment of an additional $100` million in new funding for the Reef Trust.