Hamo joins push to pro­tect the reef

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

MORE than 100 peo­ple at­tended the first Reef Hour hosted by Hamil­ton Is­land last Thurs­day night.

Guest speak­ers at the event in­clud­ing fi­nance and en­ergy ex­pert Tim Buckley and for­mer GBRMPA (Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity) di­rec­tor, Dr Adam Smith, both of whom dis­cussed on­go­ing threats to the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Dr Smith said there were some good ini­tia­tives in the gov­ern­ment’s Reef 2050 Plan, “but of­ten gov­ern­ment pol­icy is a plan for a plan”.

“We need ac­tion if we are to lock in the fu­ture health of the Great Bar­rier Reef,” he said.

Mr Buckley pre­dicted that open­ing up the Galilee Basin would in­crease the global sup­ply of coal by 27 per cent.

“[But] the price of coal will go down ma­te­ri­ally, de­creas­ing prof­itabil­ity," he said.

"The Queens­land and Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments are kid­ding them­selves if they think the Galilee is go­ing to open up more ther­mal coal for the world and not have any ad­verse im­pact on ex­ist­ing min­ing op­er­a­tions." Mr Buckley said in his opin­ion, op­er­a­tions al­ready at zero profit mar­gins would be driven into the red and mines al­ready em­ploy­ing lots of Aus­tralian work­ers would ul­ti­mately be de­stroyed.

He said from a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst’s per­spec­tive, mine clo­sures, job losses, risk­ing the cli­mate and risk­ing the reef, for the sake of “un­com­mer­cial projects” didn’t make eco­nomic sense.

Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (AMCS) Great Bar­rier Reef cam­paigner Cherry Mud­dle said she too be­lieved the reef was at risk.

"Our jobs, life­styles, fish­ing, div­ing and sail­ing grounds, and our pre­cious nat­u­ral won­der are all at risk from 100 mil­lion tones of dredg­ing. We must all get in­volved and con­tinue the push to pro­tect our reef," she said.

"Com­mu­nity pres­sure is work­ing, but we can't stop now.”

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