Keep our reef un­der spot­light

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

IT seems our reef is safe, at least for now. This is great news.

The World Her­itage Com­mit­tee of the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion, meet­ing in Bonn, Ger­many, this week de­cided not to in­clude the Great Bar­rier Reef on its in- dan­ger list.

In­stead, it will con­tinue to mon­i­tor Aus­tralia’s man­age­ment of this liv­ing trea­sure to see if prom­ises of in­creased pro­tec­tion and sur­veil­lance are kept.

Much has been rid­ing on the de­ci­sion.

For the coal in­dus­try, want­ing to ramp up ex­ports of Queens­land’s black gold — or white death, which­ever way you see it — they need the claim that ev­ery­thing is OK.

Con­versely, the anti- coal lobby need to put the case of trou­bled wa­ters to shut coal down.

For the tourism in­dus­try, re­ly­ing on the per­cep­tion of the mag­nif­i­cence of the reef, the de­ci­sion is vi­tal to their for­tunes.

No one wants to see a dead reef, though, per­haps in the fu­ture, there could be an an­gle in en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to come and see the reef be­fore it’s gone.

Af­ter all, the Ital­ians use this to great ef­fect with the sink­ing city of Venice, and cli­mate change is the big­gest risk to the sur­vival of co­ral reefs. Then there’s us. We love the reef and use it for all kinds of en­joy­ment, some with lit­tle or no im­pact, oth­ers akin to rape and pil­lage.

If truth be told, the likes of me would be among the reef’s great­est threats. I am an avid fisher and sheller, though al­ways, of course, within recre­ational laws.

If any­thing, I see the hy­per­bole sur­round­ing the dan­ger list­ing of the reef’s sta­tus as a good thing.

It has put this trea­sure into the minds of peo­ple around the world and prompted our gov­ern­ments to re­dou­ble their ef­forts.

There is a new Reef 2050 LongTerm Sus­tain­abil­ity Plan with am­bi­tious tar­gets to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity with prom­ises of ex­tra fund­ing.

We will have to hold them to their prom­ises to help coun­cils and in­dus­try im­prove wa­ter qual­ity and not buck­pass these ex­tra costs on to us.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.