Prime Minister Must Show Greater Leadership on Great Barrier Reef

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Crown of Thorns Starfish Sources (COTS) that are currently affecting the Great Barrier Reef (Image Credit: Living Oceans Foundation).

THE Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger from climate change and local threats and the Prime Minister’s funding announcement today is nowhere near enough to recognise the scale of the threats it faces.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is responding to the PM’s announcement today of $60 million to tackle the current severe outbreak of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS), agricultural runoff to the Reef and coral bleaching.

“To seriously tackle the grave threat of climate change to the Reef, the federal government needs to make an urgent transition to renewable energy and rule out Adani’s Carmichael mine and all new coal mines,” Imogen Zethoven, Fight for our Reef campaign director of AMCS said.

“Funding research is necessary, but it will be a classic case of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic unless the federal government moves quickly away from coal and other fossil fuels.

“The Prime Minister needs to exert leadership on climate change and the Reef. He is well aware of the problem but his solutions are so far woefully disproportionate to the problem.

“The government also needs to dramatically scale up its response to poor water quality. Fertiliser runoff is leading to plagues of coral-eating COTS. It is not enough to continue to fund COTS removal while not seriously tackling the root cause of the problem.

“A Queensland government report found that an $800 million investment each year for 10 years would make a dramatic improvement to the Reef. The government must get serious and make investment in this order of magnitude.

“The Reef is suffering. If it were a patient, it would be crying out for more help. As our most loved and famous natural asset, worth over $6 billion to the economy every year, Australians must be left wondering why the federal government is not showing leadership in protecting it.”

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