The Australian Marine Conservation Society today welcomed the appointment of Dr Ian Poiner as Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Dr Poiner was formerly the CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Chair of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre.
“Dr Poiner is well positioned by virtue of his knowledge and experience to pursue an aggressive conservation agenda for the Reef,” said Imogen Zethoven, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director.
“His most urgent and important task is to call on the Federal Government to undertake rapid and far reaching action to tackle climate change to protect the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
“Climate change, mainly driven by mining and burning coal, is the Reef’s biggest threat.
“Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report saying that even if we hold global average temperature rise to 1.5 C degrees, we will still risk losing 70-90% of the world’s coral reefs.
“We call on Dr Poiner to emphasize the urgent need for action to give our Reef a future. 64,000 jobs depend on the Reef, and it generates $6 billion each year.
“Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that there was a 60% chance of a severe coral bleaching event this summer.
“We urge Dr Poiner to tell the Minister for Environment Melissa Price that we stand to lose the Reef, unless the Federal Government rules out any new thermal coal mines including Adani’s Carmichael mine and switches rapidly to renewable energy in the next decade.
“The Reef is also suffering from agricultural pollution and overfishing. The Reef needs clean water and an end to fishing practices that are killing our iconic wildlife such as dolphins and turtles.
“We urge Dr Poiner to usher in a new era for GBRMPA, one that restores GBRMPA as a strong regulator, defender and champion of the Reef.
“The next few years are critical. Dr Poiner’s strong leadership will be crucial, Ms Zethoven said.
For comment contact Imogen Zethoven, AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director
0431 565 495