As Queensland parliamentarians return to the House for the first sitting week of the year, marine conservationists have urged them to ensure the Great Barrier Reef is at the forefront of their policies and actions in 2020.
In what will be an important year for the future of Australia’s natural icon, the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) Great Barrier Reef spokesperson Shani Tager said it was imperative the Palaszczuk government implements policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the reef, and pushes the Morrison government to do more.
“In this election year, the Palaszczuk government has the opportunity to show Queenslanders that it is serious about protecting our iconic national treasure,” Ms Tager said.
“Queensland produces more carbon pollution than any other state and after this summer of unprecedented climate disaster it’s time to turn that around.
“As custodians of our beautiful, fragile Reef, Queensland politicians have plenty of reasons to go from laggard to leader when it comes to cutting emissions.
“We can play an important role in limiting global warming to 1.5ºC under the Paris Agreement by cutting energy and industrial emissions by 58% by 2030 and reach carbon net zero emissions by 2050, as laid out in our recent Carbon Budget report by Climate Analytics.
“The bushfire crisis has shown that Australians want politicians to take serious and immediate action to reduce emissions by transitioning to renewable energy. And this action will do more than anything else to help our Reef in a warming climate.”
In June, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will meet to consider the state of our Reef and how well the Morrison and Palaszczuk governments are protecting it. There is a possibility the Committee may place the Reef on the ‘in danger’ list due to its very poor outlook, which would have implications for jobs in the $6 billion tourism industry.
“Reef tourism is a vital industry for Queensland, employing 64,000 people. And there is plenty that politicians can do to support tourism operators,” Ms Tager said.
“It is important law makers implement and enforce the Palaszczuk government’s new water quality laws to limit pollution. We know pollution from agricultural run off is impacting vulnerable species like humpback and snubfin dolphins.
“It can also help the reef by implementing urgently needed fisheries reforms that protect habitats and endangered species, such as scalloped hammerhead sharks, dolphins, dugongs and turtles. Investing in fisheries reform for a healthy reef will help the fishing industry, ensuring Queenslanders have access to quality, local seafood for generations.
“The Queensland government made our Reef one of its six Advance Queensland Priorities in this term of government, and there is still time before the October election for politicians from all sides to implement effective change for the good of our Reef.”
Media contact: Jo Manning 0405 567228 / firstname.lastname@example.org