The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) today welcomed Queensland Labor’s tree clearing policy which aims to tackle the state’s disastrous rate of deforestation and the consequent impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
Tree clearing has exposed creeks and rivers to increased sediment pollution which flows into the Great Barrier Reef, turning the water turbid, reducing visibility for snorkelers and divers, and smothering seagrass meadows and coral reefs.
AMCS Fight For Our Reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven said the previous Newman government had gutted Queensland’s tree clearing laws. “As a result between 2015 and 2016 almost 400,000 ha of land were being cleared, threatening the small steps of progress being made to improve Reef water quality”.
“Tree clearing in Queensland is out of control due to the actions of the Newman government and the failure of the LNP to support stronger vegetation protection laws in Parliament over the last 3 years.”
“The government is paying millions of dollars to clean up the Reef’s waters – as they should – but the small gains being made will be overwhelmed unless stronger laws to protect forests and woodlands are passed in the next term of government”.
“Inshore water quality in the Whitsundays region once again got a C score in the latest water quality report card and the health of seagrass meadows received a D. Tourism operators remain deeply concerned about the impact of poor water quality on their businesses and the visitor experience.
“AMCS welcomes today’s announcement and calls on the Qld LNP, One Nation Party and Katter’s Australian Party to also commit to strong vegetation protection laws in the next term of Parliament.
“Over the past two summers, the 49% of shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef have died due to climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas. We need to be doing everything we can to help the Reef recover, and support the 64,000 jobs that are dependent on a healthy Reef,” Ms Zethoven said.
In July 2017, UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre “noted that important legislation regulating land clearing has not been passed yet, and that increased efforts are needed to ensure that all important legislation necessary to deliver the 2050 LTSP outcomes is put in place.”
For interviews and more information contact:
Imogen Zethoven, Reef Campaign Director, 0431 565 495, firstname.lastname@example.org