The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. It is being threatened by poor water quality from coastal rivers, Crown of Thorns starfish and climate change.
On top of all those threats, the Mercury reported on Monday that a ship passed through the reef on its way to Brisbane with a crew that didn’t understand how to use its navigation equipment. That could have led to a disaster.
In the past, politicians have mostly dismissed environmentalist’s distress about the condition of the reef. That lack of concern ended last year when UNESCO proposed to declare the World Heritage status of the reef “in danger”.
Since then we have seen significant impacts like dumping of capital dredge spoil in the ocean banned.
This year’s coral bleaching catastrophe has again focussed political attention on the condition of the reef.
The Labor Party has made a major announcement that $500 million will be spent over five years to protect reef water quality. That’s progress but much more needs to be done.
When you consider that the state and federal governments plan to spend $565 million constructing the Mackay by-pass road you can see how important they think protection of the Great Barrier Reef really is.
It has been estimated that it would take $10 billion to assist cane farmers and graziers to improve their farming practices and prevent run off into the Great Barrier Reef waters. That’s the sort of money we should be spending to protect our greatest natural asset.
Mackay Conservation Group is analysing the policies of all candidates standing for election in our area to determine who has the best plans to protect the Great Barrier Reef. We will issue a scorecard during the election campaign.
You can find out more by visiting the website voteforthereef.com