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Majority of Australians want condition of the Reef declared a 'National Emergency': New Poll

Fri 2 December 2016

More than two-thirds of Australians believe the condition of the Great Barrier Reef should be declared a ‘national emergency’, according to new polling released today.

The national Essential Poll conducted for the Fight for the Reef campaign run by the Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF Australia found:

  • 73% of Australians believe the condition of the Great Barrier Reef is getting worse;
  • 76% of Australians think Adani’s Carmichael coal mine will have some or a major impact on the Reef if it is allowed to go ahead. 

Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Imogen Zethoven said despite the Australian Government’s assurances to the World Heritage Committee of ‘improved’ Reef protection, the community believes far more must be done.

“The message from the Australian community is that leaders of all major political parties should commit to major improvements in Reef protection,” Ms Zethoven said.

The Essential Poll also found:

  • 86% of Australians think the government should legislate to stop farm chemicals polluting the Reef’s waters;
  • 74% think the government should ban tree clearing in the Reef catchment 
  • 67% think Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is a threat to the Reef and should not go ahead

“Australians are way ahead of their governments in recognising the threat to the Reef and tourism jobs from Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“They understand the health of the Reef is in crisis, requiring national leadership on climate change from the federal government,” she said.

“Our leaders are out of touch with Australian public opinion about the Adani coal mine. The overwhelming majority of Australians understand we can’t have a massive new coal mine and a healthy Reef. Australians want the Reef and the economic opportunities to rapidly transition to clean, job-rich renewable energy.

“Today in their report to the World Heritage Committee the two governments have recognised that progress to protect the Reef from farm pollution is too slow and the pace of work needs to speed up. 

“They have also recognised that climate change is the single greatest threat to the Reef. The two governments must now move beyond recognition to take serious action to rapidly shift to renewable energy and say no to new coal mines. 

“Otherwise the Australian government risks being hauled before the World Heritage Committee in 2017 to explain why it has taken no serious action to tackle this greatest threat to our world heritage wonder. ”

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