Queensland resources sector needs leadership – WWF

AN article appeared in today’s Courier-Mail newspaper about the impact of agricultural runoff on the Great Barrier Reef. The article featured a response from the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) that suggested dredging and dumping in the Reef World Heritage Area should not be of concern.

The following is a response from WWF-Australia to these claims from the Queensland Resources Council.

“The Queensland Resources Council’s Michael Roche is correct that the Great Barrier Reef is suffering from pollution but vilifying farmers is neither fair nor accurate,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said.

“WWF-Australia applauds the farming sector for recognising that there is a problem with agricultural pollution, and beginning to do something about it.

“This is in stark contrast to the Queensland Resources Council, which unfortunately denies that dumping millions of tonnes of dredge waste from industrial port development will have an impact.

“This flies in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence.”

Just recently, Australia’s pre-eminent expert on coral reefs, Professor Terry Hughes, had this to say: “…polluted reefs nearer to the coast are in rapid decline” and “the only lasting solution is to reduce runoff and ban dredging and dumping anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”

“The other industries that operate in and alongside the Reef World Heritage Area also accept responsibility for its conservation,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“The Queensland tourism industry has transformed their practices. Every single tourist that visits the reef contributes to the Reef’s management and pays their fair share through the Reef’s environmental management charge.

“The fishing sector has gone through a major transformation through the implementation of a comprehensive network of marine sanctuaries in the Reef Marine Park, and a commitment to reduce their impact while ensuring profitability.

“Meanwhile, it appears that some parts of the Queensland resources sector are stuck in the dark ages.

“Instead of cheap and nasty options like dredging and dumping 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil at Abbot Point, we urge the QRC to show leadership and transform the way the resources sector does business.

“There are sensible solutions available that do not require dredging and dumping in the Reef’s World Heritage Area.

“Simple innovation, such as better use of under-utilised existing ports and investing in options such as longer jetties are very realistic options that are available right now.

“By showing real leadership on this issue, Queensland’s resources sector could prove to the world that they have finally recognised that operating alongside the world’s best reef requires world’s best management.”

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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