NQCC calls for stronger government action as coral bleaching worsens

This is the text of a media release distributed by NQCC at 2.15pm on Monday 14 March:

bleached coral lizard IsNorth Queensland Conservation Council is extremely concerned that coral bleaching in the Far North of the Great Barrier Reef is now so bad that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has upped its response to level 2.

In the light of this, NQCC calls on government to prevent further Reef degradation by taking strong action on climate change and better financing water quality improvement programs.

In 2012, the far north was identified as the best preserved area of the entire Reef. Now, bleaching in the region is likely to result in significant loss of corals.

“GBRMPA has recognised climate change (a main cause of bleaching) as the greatest threat to the Reef since at least 2009. The Authority and governments at all levels have also recognised poor water quality as a major cause of damage to the Reef,” said NQCC Coordinator Wendy Tubman.

“And yet, despite this, and despite the Paris agreement, Queensland and Federal governments are encouraging the expansion of the coal industry and approving the massive Carmichael coal mine – thereby worsening the problem of climate change.

“At the same time the Queensland government is allowing increased vegetation clearance and promoting coastal development, such as the huge but unnecessary expansion of Townsville Port, both of which contribute significantly to poor water quality.

“The amount of money dedicated to improving water quality is piddling,” Ms Tubman said. “Water scientist Jon Brodie has noted, ‘The implications for the GBR of this funding shortfall and continuing climate change effects are dire for the GBR.’

“The people understand that fundamental change in how we interact with the Reef is required – but we are offered empty rhetoric and business as usual,” Ms Tubman said.