Plea for feds to ditch power plan

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SARAH VOGLER

PREMIER An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk has again called for the Fed­eral Govern­ment to scrap its plans for a new coal­fired power sta­tion in North Queens­land, ar­gu­ing it will hurt the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Ms Palaszczuk ( right) said it was time for the Com­mon­wealth to aban­don its power sta­tion plan.

“What the Fed­eral Govern­ment should be do­ing, as well as the state LNP is rul­ing out a brand new coal­fired power sta­tion on the doorstep of the Great Bar­rier Reef,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk dis­missed sug­ges­tions the state should also ditch plans for the Adani mine to en­sure the Reef was pro­tected.

“My govern­ment ... we have en­sured there is no dump­ing of dredge spoil in the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“It has to be dumped on land,” she said.”

REEF tourism op­er­a­tors hope UNESCO’s de­ci­sion not to list the liv­ing won­der “in dan­ger” will lift their drop- in visi­tor num­bers.

UNESCO’s World Her­itage Com­mit­tee en­dorsed Aus­tralia’s Reef 2050 plan to pro­tect the iconic as­set, avoid­ing any in­ter­na­tional em­bar­rass­ment for the $ 6.4 bil­lion- a- year tourist draw­card.

But the WHC did ex­press “se­ri­ous con­cern” about the on­go­ing health of the reef in­clud­ing wa­ter qual­ity tar­gets and land clear­ing laws in Queens­land.

Dive boat op­er­a­tors wel­comed the UNESCO de­ci­sion as a “golden op­por­tu­nity” to over­haul ad­verse global pub­lic­ity about the fate of the Reef after dev­as­tat­ing back- to- back mass coral bleach­ing events.

“No doubt tourist num­bers to the Reef are down for May and June, and that’s across the board for the whole in­dus­try,’’ said Cairns- based Tusa Dive owner Phil Hobbs. “But things are start­ing to pick up and hope­fully this rul­ing can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on both tourism and the Reef in gen­eral, our liveli­hoods de­pend on it.’’

Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Frydenberg said the de­ci­sion was a “big win for Aus­tralia” with the Govern­ment due to next re­port back in three years.

“We’re tak­ing ev­ery ac­tion pos­si­ble to en­sure this great won­der of the world stays vi­able and healthy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to come,” he said.

Queens­land En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Steven Miles said the state had in­vested $ 63 mil­lion on pro­tect­ing the Reef and the de­ci­sion was cru­cial to the state’s tourism in­dus­try.

He said it was up to the Turn­bull Govern­ment to sup­port Queens­land La­bor’s new tree clear­ing laws and take ac­tion on re­duc­ing emis­sions and cli­mate change.

The Great Bar­rier Reef Foun­da­tion, who last week re­leased a Deloitte re­port on the $ 56 bil­lion value of the reef, said it was “a sys­tem un­der se­ri­ous pres­sure”.

“We need to buy the Reef time,’’ said GBR Foun­da­tion’s Anna Mars­den.

“We must do ev­ery­thing we can to boost re­silience, in­vest­ing in strate­gies for its longterm con­ser­va­tion.”

Townsville’s “God­fa­ther of Coral” Dr John “Char­lie” Veron said coral bleach­ing was the most vis­i­ble ev­i­dence of cli­mate change.

“The WHC rightly iden­ti­fies that im­ple­ment­ing strong laws in the Reef catch­ments that clean up farm wa­ter pol­lu­tion and stop ex­ces­sive tree clear­ing are vi­tal,’’ Dr Veron told the WHC meet­ing in Poland.

“But sadly the last two years have shown that the im­pacts of cli­mate change are vastly out­pac­ing the lo­cal man­age­ment ef­forts.

“Ev­ery coun­try must do its fair share to keep global tem­per­a­ture rise below 1.5 de­grees.”

TOURISM BOOST: UNESCO will not list the Great Bar­rier Reef as “in dan­ger”.

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