Media Release Climate Change

Stop cooking our oceans! Political parties must do better for our Reefs and oceans in this crucial election

April 10, 2022

As our precious coral reefs suffer in marine heatwaves on both sides of the country, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is appealing to all sides of politics to deliver more for our life-giving oceans at the 2022 Federal election.

The election on May 21 will come just weeks after the fourth mass bleaching event since 2016 on our Great Barrier Reef was announced, and after signs of bleaching were detected in the world famous Ningaloo Reef marine park and off the Pilbara coast in Western Australia.

Darren Kindleysides, AMCS CEO said: “These simultaneous bleaching events are emblematic of the increasing pressure our oceans are facing from global heating driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. We know the solutions to this problem. Our political candidates must commit to lead the global charge to net zero to deliver cooler and cleaner oceans this decade.

“Our oceans are life-giving, providing tens of thousands of Australians with jobs and contributing $billions to our economy. More species are found in our oceans than in any other country on Earth. They also provide us with a lifestyle and seafood that is envied around the world. We have so much to lose from not looking after our marine estate properly.

“And yet the current emissions reduction commitments by both major parties will not be good enough for our coral reefs. Scientists say we need to see climate policy pathways that are compatible with no more than 1.5C of warming – a key threshold for coral reefs all over the world. In real terms this means reducing pollution by 75% by 2030 and policies to meet net zero by 2035. Considering how much we have to lose in Australia, and the huge opportunities of embracing the renewable energy transition, we should be a world leader on climate action. Instead we lag at the back of the pack and continue to subsidise fossil fuel projects.

“We also need policies that will ease pressure on our oceans while temperatures rise. This means building resilience by reducing stress from industrialisation, poor fisheries management and water pollution, and bringing in more protections for our incredible and unique marine wildlife.”

AMCS, Australia’s peak marine conservation group, has written to the major parties setting out eight key policies the next Australian government must deliver to give our reefs and oceans a fighting chance over the next term of government:

1. Protect our Reef and oceans from global warming by delivering a Reef-safe’ climate policy.
2. Clean up water pollution on the Great Barrier Reef.
3. Protect endangered wildlife from the impacts of fishing and improve fisheries sustainability.
4. Be a leader in establishing marine protected areas at home and internationally.
5. Tackle plastic pollution in our oceans.
6. Protect Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo from industrial development and support a positive, sustainable vision for the area.
7. Reform the laws that protect Australia’s oceans and environment.
8. Protect our oceans from offshore oil and gas developments.

AMCS will assess each major party’s commitments relating to our oceans in the weeks before the vote.