Government’s $60m Reef plan meaningless without measures to address climate change

Press release - 21 January, 2018
SYDNEY, January 22, 2018 - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to pay farmers up to $60 million to reduce sediment runoff to the Great Barrier Reef is the kind of tinkering around the edges approach that has failed in the past and does nothing to address the cause of devastating coral bleaching.

“Coal-fueled climate change is killing the Reef, but instead of phasing out fossil fuels and pulling support for Adani’s Carmichael mine, the PM and Josh Frydenberg are again just dealing with symptoms of the problem,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Dr Nikola Casule, said.

“The Reef is now in the early stages of an unprecedented third consecutive year of bleaching. The Reef bleached in 2016 and 2017 and the Turnbull government did nothing. The science is clear: dangerous global warming is the biggest threat to the Reef.

“Rather than engaging in piecemeal exercises that ignore the biggest threat to the Reef, Malcolm Turnbull should place the interests of all Australians ahead of the profits of coal barons by embracing renewable energy and saying no to new coal projects, like Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.”

Today in Townsville the Prime Minister announced a $60 million Great Barrier Reef program that includes paying farmers to reduce sediment runoff, increasing the number of vessels targeting the crown-of-thorns starfish and the number of field officers to protect the Reef.

The program also includes $6 million for science and research, but does not include a single initiative to reduce Australia’s support of the coal industry or any serious measures to combat global warming.

“If Mr Turnbull genuinely cared about our precious Reef and the people who depend on it, he would get serious about fighting climate change instead of engaging in fantasy solutions that ignore the real issue,” Dr Casule said.



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Media Campaigner Martin Zavan

0424 295 422