The Fight For The Great Barrier Reef!

Earlier this week, an Australian tourism icon was saved from a disastrous future. The Great Barrier Reef, internationally renowned as a hot-spot for underwater life, was at risk of being used as a dumping site for dredged materials. The impact on the UN protected area was likely to cause a significant decrease in sea life and coral formation. In the end, it took the efforts of committed Australians to send a clear message to destructive resource companies: we don’t want our national treasures destroyed, thankyou!

On Tuesday, North Queensland Bulk Ports, GVK Hancock and the Adani Group announced that they would reconfigure their plans so as to achieve better environmental outcomes. The companies stated that they would submit a new proposal to the Environment Minister Greg Hunt, an advocate of the initial dredging plans.

Opposition to the development has been vocal and global. The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area, a designation which confers a kind of special status. It is a much-loved and renowned representation of Australian natural life. Annually, millions of visitors flock to Queensland to soak in the summer and explore the colourful coral formations living beneath the surface. For the State of Queensland, the landmark has acted as a kind of totem pole around which the rest of the industry dances. In short, it brings much-needed revenues into the State.

As you might imagine, local opposition has been vigorous, with Whitsundays MP George Christensen yielding to overwhelming public sentiment. Over the weekend, the besieged MP ordered several prominent advertisements in local papers. “I didn’t foresee the angst the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef marine park would cause to tourism operators and to residents in the Whitsundays,” he admitted before laying out his claim for a more detailed investigative process.

Talk of a land-based option has had locals wondering about the next proposed dumping site, but (for now) it seems local activists have managed to save one of the “Crown Jewels” of Australian tourism.

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