March 24, 2021
Great Barrier Reef campaigner, David Cazzulino writes:
Reef lovers everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as it seems we’ve avoided widespread coral bleaching this year. While summer is still not over, La Nina cooler weather conditions mean we’re likely to avoid the extreme heat that leads to widespread damage.
For AMCS, 2021 is all about gaining progress on the biggest issues facing our beautiful Reef.
Climate change remains our beautiful Reef’s greatest threat, and we’re continuing to pressure both the Queensland and federal governments to act. The federal government must take the opportunity, as a minimum, to join our allies and biggest trading partners to commit to net zero emissions before 2050.
Far North Queensland MP and Special Reef Envoy Warren Entsch wrote an important piece in the Guardiansupporting this message, a positive shift after years of AMCS organising the Cairns community and tourism industry and pushing him to join the climate fight.
A key priority for the Queensland government must be the development and implementation of a Climate Action Plan, as promised in the 2020 state election. We’re working with our volunteers, supporters and government contacts to push for this plan to include commitments to do our fair share to limit warming to 1.5C to give the Great Barrier Reef the best chance for the future.
An emerging priority for AMCS is a coal mine proposed by Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal Pty Ltd - just 10 kilometres from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. A new report from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee warned of “significant and irreversible damage” to internationally valued ecosystems from mine-affected water. Right now the Queensland government is assessing the project’s environmental impact statement before they release their recommendations on 18 April 2021. We’ve generated over 10,000 emails to the Department of the Environment and the Environment minister urging the Queensland government to reject this dangerous project.
We’re excited to welcome two new staff members to our AMCS Reef team, expanding our capacity to work on Reef water quality and fisheries.
Jaimi Webster is working on Reef water quality full time as we keep the pressure on the Queensland government to fully fund and implement their crucial Reef water pollution laws. She’s also working with stakeholders on innovative ways to improve the health of inshore ecosystems.
Simon Miller is working on Reef fisheries, in particular to improve Queensland’s outdated laws and stop dangerous commercial fishing practices in the Great Barrier Reef.
There’s no question that our blue planet is facing its toughest time in history, and our spectacular coasts, oceans and marine wildlife depend on us now more than ever.