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Statement from Bill Shorten & Annastacia Palaszczuk on the Great Barrier Reef

Until Queenslanders voted Labor a few months ago, it was very clear UNESCO was moving to list the Great Barrier Reef as in danger.

Today's UNESCO draft decision is great news for the tens of thousands of people who work in Qld's tourism industry and the many millions of people worldwide who visit the Reef.

The draft decision highlights the work of Labor to protect and improve the Reef, including:

  • Legislating to prohibit the dumping of capital dredge spoil in the World Heritage Area
  • Confining industrial port expansion and development to key ports and protecting the majestic Fitzroy River Delta from port development 
  • Working with an expert scientific panel to dramatically reduce sediment and pollutants running into the reef
  • Injecting an additional $100 million into water quality improvements and fishing licence buy-backs.

Only Labor has a proven record of protecting the reef.

In government, Federal Labor:

  • Established $200m Reef Plan to work with farmers to improve the water quality of the Reef
  • Extended the REEFVTS vessel tracking system to whole World Heritage Area
  • Worked in cooperation with Traditional Owners under the Sea Country Partnerships program 
  • Established Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements with a number of Traditional Owner groups
  • Established the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan
  • Began the Strategic Assessment process

Together state and federal Labor committed to introduce a ban on capital dredge spoil dumping in the World Heritage Area.

But the Great Barrier Reef is still under threat. The impacts of climate change pose a huge risk to the Reef's long term health. 

For as long as Tony Abbott refuses to take meaningful action on climate change, the Reef will be under pressure.

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