When my daughter was two we went snorkeling at Great Keppel Island. Her excitement over the coral, which she called “water wowas” – translated as ‘water flowers’ – was a joy to watch. Two years later we still tell bedtime stories about that trip.
The other day she asked about my work. I told her I’m trying to protect the water flowers from being destroyed by dirty great big piles of coal. It’s a crude over-simplification but it pretty much sums it up.
Australians are the proud custodians of one of the world’s greatest treasures – the Great Barrier Reef. But it is under threat from the coal and gas export boom.
Our new report details the enormous coal expansion plans that are putting Queensland’s magnificent reef at risk. It exposes plans for six massive coal port expansions in the World Heritage area. One of the ports, Abbot Point, is planned to become nearly three times larger than any other coal port in the world.
If the coal industry plans proceed unchecked, there will be over 10,000 coal ships passing through the reef each year - more than one ship departing port every hour of every day. Millions of tonnes of sea floor will be dredged and dumped in the marine park.
The guardians of World Heritage – UNESCO – arrive in Australia next week to investigate impacts on the reef. With the spotlight of the world focusing on Australia, the Australian and Queensland Governments have agreed to do an 18-month ‘strategic assessment’ of the impacts of development on the reef.
Sounds good but what’s the catch?
It looks like major industrial projects in the World Heritage area may be approved by our governments before they’ve finished their strategic assessment! We must ensure this doesn’t happen – these projects should not get approval while the assessment is conducted. Otherwise it will be too late and the damage will be done.
The Great Barrier Reef is far too precious to let it be trashed by the coal industry. We need your help to defend it.
This is the beginning of a vital campaign to protect our reef and our climate.
Thank you for being part of this critical work.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific
• Become a reef defender - Sign Greenpeace’s petition
• Read the full report
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