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Cairns community members call for election candidates to support Reef safe jobs

reef fish

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and supporters have called on Cairns candidates to kick start the economy with Reef safe clean energy jobs this state election.

At an election campaign launch event on Thursday 6 August, AMCS said that diverse members of the Cairns community raised their voices to fight for the future of our Great Barrier Reef, local jobs and the region.

AMCS and its supporters are calling on candidates to take leadership on climate and COVID by:

Choosing coral not coal, with no new polluting fossil fuel projects;

Delivering a rapid and fair transition to 100% renewable energy, including by investing in Renewable Energy Zones; and

Protecting our Reef from local threats by:

Investing more in cleaning up Reef waterways, and

Increasing protection for threatened reef wildlife like turtles and dugongs from net fishing.

“What we need most of all is to create jobs to kick start our local economy and help families struggling during this unprecedented time. The good news is that we can do this while helping our beautiful reef,” said AMCS Cairns campaigner Elise Springett.

“We need to see investment in clean renewable energy projects that will help us drive down the greenhouse gas emissions that cause our oceans to heat and coral to bleach, while creating jobs for regions like northern Queensland still reeling from COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Restoring reef catchments to help stem the tide of polluting runoff from reaching our reef is another key venture that can create regional jobs while easing pressure on our national icon and the marine life it supports.

“Investment in reef monitoring projects by scientists and researchers could provide short term  employment opportunities for skilled tourism workers like divers and boat skippers, keeping them meaningfully busy while the tourism industry gets back on its feet.”

Guest speakers on the night explained what the reef means to them and why voters should be fighting for it this election. These included Traditional Owner Gudju Gudju Fourmile, Reverend Neil Forgies from Australia Religious Response to Climate Change, Rebecca Altaffer from Australian Parents for Climate Action and reef tourism worker Jemma Craig.

AMCS Campaigners also unveiled their Share a Bite for the Reef campaign tool, a COVID-safe strategy that aims to spark meaningful conversations over a meal with family and friends about the future of the reef and the regional economy it supports.

The conversation campaign aims to get the Cairns community talking to each other and local candidates about rebuilding from COVID with clean jobs in renewable energy to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The event complied with COVID-19 restrictions and featured music by local artists PJ Myers and Tanya Murphy.

Photo: Robert Linsdell/Flickr

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