The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the LNP’s plan to fund Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) removal and site maintenance by tourism operators and have urged them to do more to tackle the big underlying problems our Great Barrier Reef faces like climate change and water quality.
“We are pleased to see the vital Reef tourism industry will be supported through this proposal but the LNP must commit more to tackling the big threats facing our Reef,” said AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaigner David Cazzulino.
“Global heating causes the damaging mass bleaching events that have beset our Reef in recent years. Supporting the tourism industry requires politicians at all levels and from all parties to be doing more to tackle climate change by lowering fossil fuel emissions.
“While they have committed to developing Renewable Energy Zones to facilitate some renewable energy projects, the LNP has not committed to any emissions targets including limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.
“Meeting this climate target and supporting the vital reef regulations to clean up Reef waters from farm runoff are crucial to protecting our Reef and the thousands of tourism jobs it supports.
“Excess fertiliser runs off farms into our Reef, harming inshore corals and seagrass habitats. The science-backed reef regulations passed last year and backed by Labor and the Greens will help to lower the levels of fertiliser and other chemicals flowing into precious inshore environments.
“The LNP has indicated they will develop new environmental Reef standards but it is unclear what they will be or how they will be funded. If the minimum standards are lowered, it could be disastrous for our Reef.”
Owner and operator of Blue Dive Port Douglas Mark Fraenkel said: “Funding for COTS is welcome, but the LNP needs to come to the table with a plan to tackle climate change, invest in renewable energy and clean up Reef water pollution.
“Reef tourism needs clean and cool waters to be able to welcome tourists back to a healthy Great Barrier Reef. We need all parties to help support our Reef and the livelihoods it supports.”