Media Release Fight For Our Reef

NAIF Senate Inquiry Hearing and Cairns Tourism Climate Workshop spell big day for our Reef

February 1, 2018

Cairns, Queensland. It’s a big day for the Great Barrier Reef, with two events putting the future of our natural wonder centre stage.

The Senate Inquiry into the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will today hear from Australian Marine Conservation Society about the risk to Australia’s reputation if the funding body invests in Aurizon, enabling Adani’s coal project. Meanwhile, members of the tourism sector will gather to add their voice to the state government’s plan to tackle climate change.

NAIF Senate Inquiry Hearing (1)

The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Fight For Our Reef Campaign Director, Imogen Zethoven, is presenting at the hearing, saying, “We only have one Great Barrier Reef. If we protect it, it will support our way of life, our communities and our unique marine life.

“The greatest threat to the Reef is global warming. It is unconscionable for the federal government to use the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to fund coal and gas projects that would exacerbate the warming of our oceans, killing corals.

“The only project NAIF has approved is an oil and gas project in Western Australia. We know that NAIF is considering an application from Aurizon to fund a railway that would enable Adani’s mega coal mine to go ahead.

“Under the NAIF legislation, when considering funding infrastructure projects, the body must consider any reputational damage to the Australian government. As the custodian of one of the world’s most precious World Heritage listed coral reefs, Australia has an obligation to undertake the most ambitious implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

“Unlocking Adani’s coal project and the rest of the Galilee Basin is incompatible with the most ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement (which would limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees). Funding Aurizon’s Adani-enabling railway would damage Australia’s international reputation as a custodian of the world’s greatest coral reef and as a responsible actor on the climate stage.”

Changing Climate, Changing Business Workshop (2)

65 people are expected to attend a climate workshop here in Cairns to contribute to the Queensland Government’s Tourism Sector Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan.

Steve Edmondson, Sailaway Reef and Island Tours Owner/Operator, is attending the workshop and says, “This is a great opportunity for local members of the tourism industry to have their say on climate change, the most significant threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

“With back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, I’ve seen first hand the impacts of climate change. Our Reef is still beautiful and incredibly resilient and many operators are doing everything we can on our boats to reduce our ecological footprint.

“What we need is leadership from our political representatives to say no to coal projects like Adani and and invest in renewable energy. Without concerted action, bleaching events will become too frequent for corals to recover. It’s crucial that our voice is heard so that visitors from all across the world can continue to enjoy our iconic Great Barrier Reef for years to come.”

Tanya Murphy, Coordinator of Divers for Reef Conservation, is also participating in the workshop.

“As a dive instructor on the Great Barrier Reef, I’m excited to work with tourism operators as climate leaders. Our jobs depend on a healthy Reef and while it’s great that the Queensland government has commissioned this climate workshop, this will all be for nothing if the Galilee coal basin opens up.

“Adani still wants to dig up mega tonnes of coal, ship it out through the Reef and burn it overseas. While the Queensland government has vetoed federal NAIF funding for Adani’s railway, Aurizon now has plans to build a railway from the Galilee Basin to Adani’s Abbot Point Coal Port.

“Treasurer Jackie Trad has the power to again exercise Queensland’s veto power to stop Aurizon’s project that would enable Adani’s dirty coal project to get off the ground.

“We’re calling on the Treasurer to stand up for the 64,000 Reef tourism jobs like mine and say no to Aurizon’s NAIF loan that would enable Adani’s coal mine.”

(1) More info on the NAIF Senate Inquiry

(2) More info on the QTIC workshop

To arrange interviews: David Cazzulino, Fight For Our Reef Community Campaigner: 0447 238 095

For comment:

Imogen Zethoven, Australian Marine Conservation Society: 0431 565 495

Tanya Murphy, Divers for Reef Conservation Coordinator: 0497 022 732