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Official report: deforestation puts reef at risk

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Official report: Deforestation puts reef at risk

Today, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority released its 5-yearly statutory Outlook Report. The Report states that "(w)ithout additional local, national and global action on the greatest threats, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystem will remain very poor.” Climate change, followed by poor water quality are listed as the key threats to the Reef.

The Wilderness Society’s National Nature Campaigner, Jessica Panegyres, provides the following comments on the report:

“This official report makes clear that ongoing deforestation is a direct threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. It explicitly links the high levels of clearing in recent years, to the wind-back of native vegetation laws by the former Queensland coalition government.

“While these laws have recently been strengthened, there is a continued push by some political and industry quarters to return to a more laissez faire approach.

“I want to state plainly that any future undermining of Queensland’s current deforestation laws will increase the harm to the Reef. And this increases the chance of a “World Heritage-in-danger” listing.

“The report highlights that deforestation is having an impact. To fix this, there’s a role for industry to lift its game; a role for the state government to hold the line on clearing controls; and there’s a critical role for the federal government to control deforestation in Reef catchments.

“Right now, the Federal Environment Minister is considering whether or not to approve a major deforestation project in a Great Barrier Reef catchment. Minister Sussan Ley should reject the Kingvale proposal and put the interest of the Reef and all Australians first.

“The Outlook report issues a plea to all of us to act while we still can, saying ‘The window of opportunity to improve the Reef’s long-term future is now.’ It is time for credible climate change action and an end to deforestation, in order to give the Reef a chance,” Jessica concluded.


For further comment contact Jessica on 0424 090 396.

For further information on the drivers of deforestation in the Great Barrier Reef catchment see the work by TWS here. Additional information in attached release.

Kind regards,


Tim Beshara

Federal Policy Director Wilderness Society Phone: 0437878786