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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Swift action to protect the Great Barrier Reef

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Wednesday, March 04, 2015

    Swift action to protect the Great Barrier Reef

    The Palaszczuk Government has moved to update a key plan for the Great Barrier Reef to reflect its proactive approach to protecting the Reef and address UNESCO’s concerns about the protection of the state’s single biggest natural asset.

    Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles said the new government had already acted to stop retrograde changes the LNP Government planned to the state’s Water Act that would have adversely impacted the Great Barrier Reef.

    “The Premier has made it clear she wants our government to be the one that puts the future of our Great Barrier Reef beyond doubt,” Dr Miles said.

    “In the election campaign we released several policy initiatives to give added protections to our Reef that recognised it is not only a massive natural attraction, but it also generates 60,000 jobs and contributes $6 billion a year to our economy.

    "The new government has underlined the priority it places on protecting the future of our Reef by taking action that will hopefully avoid UNESCO applying a ‘World Heritage in danger’ listing to our Great Barrier Reef.”

    Dr Miles said the state government has sought federal government support to amend the draft Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to reflect the Palaszczuk Government’s commitments to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

    “Preparation of the 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan began in March 2014 in conjunction with the federal government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and in consultation with a 13-member partnership group representing the agricultural, tourism, ports, local government, seafood, resources, and conservation sectors,” he said.

    “We want updates included in the final Plan to be lodged by early March for UNESCO’s consideration before it meets in Bonn, Germany in June to consider the status of the Reef’s listing.” 

    The amendments being sought would outline initiatives planned by the Palaszczuk Government including: 

    • a ban on sea dumping of capital dredge spoil within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area 
    • convening a high-level taskforce with representatives from regional communities, conservation organisations, industry groups (including primary producers, tourism operators and local government) and leading scientists to determine the best possible approach to achieve an 80% reduction in nitrogen run-off and a 50% reduction in sediment run-off into the Great Barrier Reef by 2025
    • providing an additional $100 million over five years towards water quality initiatives, scientific research and helping businesses transition to better environmental practices in the primary production and fishing industries 
    • implementing vegetation protection laws in consultation with landowners to minimise damaging run-off to the reef 
    • reinstating coastal planning laws axed by the LNP Government 
    • working with the Federal Government and the International Maritime Organisation to develop a new vessel class which will ensure bulk goods carriers travelling in the World Heritage area meet stringent safety codes 
    • fighting to ensure the Abbott Government pays a fair share to help save the Great Barrier Reef. 

    Dr Miles said the new government had acted swiftly to protect Queensland’s water resources and the Great Barrier Reef by stopping changes to the Water Act set in train by the LNP. 

    “We have already stopped the LNP’s plans to remove the requirement to use principles of ecologically sustainable development to manage water resources,” Dr Miles said. 

    “The LNP’s amendments will now not come into effect. Its proposed changes caused serious concern for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 

    “The hallmark of the LNP when it comes to our environment is a willingness to weaken protection and maximise unchecked environmental damage.    

    “That’s why the Palaszczuk Government has acted swiftly to reverse the impending damage and, in doing so, we’ve shown we are serious about protecting the Great Barrier Reef. 

    “If these changes weren’t stopped, the risk of the reef being listed as endangered by UNESCO would have dramatically increased.” 


    Media contact: 3719 7336 or 0437 533 172