Media Release Climate Change

Great Barrier Reef Tourism Operators Want Federal Candidates to Take Urgent Action on Climate Change

April 17, 2019

Some 150 businesses and tourism operators in Far North Queensland are joining Australia’s peak marine conservation group to call on all parties in the Federal election to protect the reef from the impacts of climate change.

The group, which includes 20 reef tourism operators and businesses from hospitality and retail to law and construction, has signed a formal declaration demanding strong climate policies to protect the future of the reef.

The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) has teamed up with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) to make the Great Barrier Reef and climate change a top issue for voters.

AMPTO and AMCS are running a joint advertising campaign and encouraging supporters to write to their local candidates, with AMCS volunteers knocking on doors to spread the message.

Col McKenzie, the CEO of AMPTO, said: “The Reef is still a dynamic, vibrant, awesome place but it is under serious threat from climate change and we need our leaders to put in place strong climate and energy policies to protect its future.”

“Today we’re calling on all our political leaders to stand up for Far North Queensland businesses and jobs and demonstrate climate leadership to protect the future of our Reef.”

David Cazzulino, Great Barrier Reef Community Campaigner at AMCS, said: “This election is make or break for our Reef.

“Political candidates have the opportunity to be climate leaders to stand up for our beautiful Reef and the abundance of life it supports, including Reef communities like Cairns and Port Douglas.

“Coal and other fossil fuels are causing climate change and that’s damaging our Reef, we must say no to new coal mines like Adani and rapidly transition to renewable energy.”

Chris Jones Operations Manager Tropical Journeys said, “The Reef is our livelihood, generating $6 billion each year and supporting 64,000 jobs. As Reef tourism businesses, we love the Reef and we take seriously our responsibility to look after this incredible place.

“There’s no doubt that climate change is the biggest threat to our Reef – we’ve seen the impacts in the back-to-back coral bleaching events.

“So why do our representatives continue to support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, such as Adani’s coal mine? We need the federal government to take bold action to reduce emissions to protect the Reef and the local jobs that depend on it.”


Contact: AMCS Communications Manager Ingrid Neilson 0421 972 731

Photos from today’s 9:30am Cairns press conference will be uploaded here.

Note to editors: the full wording of the declaration signed by more than 150 FNQ businesses


We love the Great Barrier Reef.

As Reef tourism businesses operating in the World Heritage area, we take seriously our responsibility to look after one of the world’s most beautiful and biologically rich ecosystems.

Together we’re calling for bold action to protect this natural icon.

We cannot understate the economic contribution of Reef tourism. The Reef is a magnet for people from Australia and around the world and generates $6 billion each year and sustains 64,000 jobs.

Despite the negative press, the Reef is a dynamic, vibrant, awesome place. But, like coral reefs around the world, it is under serious threat.

Climate change, mainly driven by burning coal and other fossil fuels, is the single biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. The carbon pollution from coal, oil and gas is heating the air and the oceans to dangerous levels. Coral reefs around the world were damaged during an unprecedented marine heatwave in 2016 and 2017.

It’s not too late to save our Reef but time is critical.

The federal government has a responsibility to honour the Paris Agreement and protect the Reef on behalf of all Australians, all humanity and future generations. Yet our representatives continue to support the expansion of coal and gas, including Adani’s mega coal mine.

To give our Reef the best chance for the future, Australia must join the rest of the world to rapidly phase out coal and other fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy.

We call on all our political leaders to stand up for Far North QLD businesses and jobs and fight for the future of our Reef.