Media Release Climate Change

Marine conservationists push for Reef-safe recovery at community cabinet

August 31, 2020

Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) campaigners and supporters took their message of a Reef safe recovery directly to the Palaszczuk government as the state’s Ministers met for a Community Cabinet in Cairns earlier today.

AMCS joined representatives from the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC), Divers for Reef Conservation (DRC) and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) to stage a demonstration using tree saplings, renewable energy symbols, snorkels and masks to illustrate the Cairns community needs an economic recovery from the pandemic that supports people and the environment.

Cairns campaigner Elise Springett said it was important economic solutions for the region, hit hard by COVID recession, protect our greatest asset, the Great Barrier Reef, which is currently recovering from its third climate change-driven mass bleaching event in only five years.

“With the Queensland election fast approaching, it is important our political leaders understand how reliant the Cairns community is on a healthy Reef, and how economic solutions can rebuild in a safe way for both the amazing wildlife and the tourism industry that rely on our international icon,” she said.

“The main threat to our Reef is from global warming which drives marine heatwaves and damaging bleaching events. With this in mind, we want to see our political leaders commit to no new polluting fossil fuel projects which drive climate change and deliver a rapid transition to renewable energy, creating jobs and opportunities in Far North Queensland.

“We were encouraged by the Palaszczuk government’s proposal on Renewable Energy corridors for the State, including zones that we hope will include Cairns. This will create jobs for the region, and is an important step towards lowering Queensland’s emissions.

“Other job opportunities for the tourism industry currently in hibernation due to the COVID border restrictions will be to fund restoration projects in Reef catchments to help improve water quality on our Reef. Skilled tourism workers like boat captains and divers can also help scientists with Reef monitoring projects, so we can learn more about its recovery from bleaching.

“We need our politicians to act urgently to protect our wonderful environments in Far North Queensland for future generations, while creating jobs for the Cairns community.”