WWF-Australia today responded to a report in The Australian newspaper that Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt has reportedly signed formal orders to restrict the dumping of dredge spoil affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
The conservation organisation repeated the call for a full ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
See backgrounder below for the key differences between the Marine Park and World Heritage Area.
"More than 80% of dumping in Reef waters since 2010 has occurred outside the Marine Park but within the World Heritage Area where it can easily drift onto coral and seagrass,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said.
“A ban on the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an important step, but to have a real impact we must move towards a complete halt to this damaging practice throughout the entire Reef World Heritage Area.
"It is no longer acceptable to simply use the Reef as a dump.”
Queensland election policy scorecard
In today’s Courier-Mail newspaper, WWF published a full-page policy scorecard rating the Reef policies of the main parties eight days out from the Queensland state election. A final scorecard, to take account of any new announcements, will be published next Thursday before the January 31 poll.
Mr O’Gorman said time was running out for all Queensland parties to commit to the bold policies needed to save the Reef.
“The Reef is a mainstream issue in this election. Queenslanders expect all political parties to have bold and sufficiently funded policies to turn around the decline of our greatest natural icon,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“The Reef generates $6 billion a year and supports 60,000 jobs. It’s crucial to Queensland’s future. Restoring the Reef’s health is not only critical from a conservation perspective, it is vital for protecting the thousands of Queensland jobs that depend on it.
“Despite a clear deadline, the LNP were not able to provide their Reef policies in time for the scorecard. All other parties, PUP, Katter, ALP and The Greens, were able to make the deadline.
“However, we would like to include any new policy commitments from the LNP and there’s still time to respond. We’ll publish a final score card on all parties’ publicly stated policies next Thursday 29 January.
“WWF is a science-based, non-partisan conservation organisation that has developed six detailed solutions to protect the Reef for future generations,” he said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Marine Park v World Heritage Area:
- The marine park does not include about 3,600 square kilometres including port exclusion areas.
- A ban in the marine park still allows for millions of cubic metres of spoil to be dumped where plumes can easily drift onto coral and seagrass.
- Of the nearly 6.4 million cubic metres of spoil dumped since 2010, around 84% (about 5.4 million cubic metres) has been dumped outside the Marine Park but in the World Heritage Area.
WWF’s Queensland election policy scorecard
The Reef policies of the parties on WWF’s scorecard have been rated against WWF’s solutions, which are:
- Ban dumping and minimise dredging in the World Heritage Area
Stop farm pollution harming the Reef
Protect precious wetlands and pristine areas of the Reef coast forever
Protect our rivers, bushland and community rights through strong and fair laws
Bring back our fish, turtles, dugong and precious wildlife
- Turn down the heat on the Reef – make Queensland a renewable energy state
The scorecard is available online at wwf.org.au/reef