Those lucky enough to have visited the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef will agree that it is extremely breathtaking. The clear water, colourful coral, and all the wildlife all take credit for why this wondrous place has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and is touted as a national icon.
The reef also supports the livelihood of many people living along its coastline. Tourism, fishing and research organisations all rely on the reef and in turn provide around $7 billion annually for Australia's economy and around 70,000 jobs. Queensland needs a healthy reef to maintain the lifestyle it provides, now and in the future.
What many people don’t realise is that despite all of the aforementioned, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from massive new industrial developments along its coastline. Large scale mining operations, new rail lines and ports are planned, driven by a huge demand for coal, gas and other mineral resources, especially in India and China. There are at least 67 developments on the drawing board in or near the Great Barrier Reef, including five mega ports – one of which would become the largest coal export terminal in the world only 50kms from the tourism mecca — the Whitsunday Islands.
If these developments are approved, millions of tonnes of seafloor will be dredged and then dumped in the Great Barrier Reef waters and the number of freight ships criss-crossing the reef each year will nearly double to over 7000, putting the reef and the industries which rely on it at risk.
At a time when the reef needs stronger protection, the Queensland Government is fast tracking these developments and giving special treatment to industry. They’ve cut environmental protection, removed assessment officers and ignored the concerns of the community.
If we’re not careful, Queensland will emerge from the “mining boom” with one of its best tourism icons ruined and the loss of a coastal lifestyle loved by many.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society has recently joined forces with WWF-Australia to fight for the reef and stop this massive threat of industrialisation.
But we can’t do it without you.
We are fighting so that our children and their children can enjoy the Reef’s natural beauty.
We are fighting for our fishers and tourism operators who need a healthy Reef for their livelihood.
And we are fighting so the Reef remains one of the great natural wonders of the world.
It needs you now more than ever.
Please visit www.fightforthereef.org.au for more information about how YOU can help Save the Reef. Sign the petition and get involved today!