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Greenhouse threat to Great Barrier Reef: Democrats say the fossil fuel subsidies have got to go.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett

Australian Democrats’ Environment Spokesperson


6 JULY 1999


Greenhouse threat to Great Barrier Reef

Democrats say the fossil fuel subsidies have got to go


The Government can no longer ignore the fact that the Great Barrier Reef is threatened by the Greenhouse effect and climate change, according to Senator Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrats’ spokesperson on the environment.


“The Australian Democrats welcome Greenpeace’s report on coral bleaching. This report puts hard numbers to a phenomenon which we have known about for some time. The Democrats have consistently urged the Government to face up to the damage of climate change,” said Senator Bartlett.


Senator Bartlett said it was an opportunity for the Prime Minister to show leadership and stop subsidising fossil fuel industries which contribute to global warming.


“The Democrats call on the Government to remove the subsidies going to fossil fuel industries and redirect them into renewable energy industries. Just one example of how ridiculous the situation has become is the $42 million a year fuel excise that goes to Queensland’s oil shale mine. It would not be economic without this level of corporate welfare and it has to go.


“Apart from the intrinsic ecological benefits of the Great Barrier Reef it has tangible economic benefits. The Great Barrier Reef is worth $1 billion each year just from tourism. It is the world’s largest world heritage area and represents one third of all World Heritage areas.


“The Democrats have welcomed some positive recent action such as expansion of the area of the Great Barrier Reef park, crackdowns on illegal prawn trawling and other damaging measures, however the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef in the long term will be from climate change activities,” said Senator Bartlett.


The Greenpeace report outlines the devastating effects on coral reefs of increases in water temperature of only one or two degrees.


Senator Bartlett said, “The majority of coral reefs of the world are dying or dead and we have an urgent opportunity to save this significant heritage area, magnificent ecosystem and important tourist attraction.”


“This report presents a challenge for the new chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,” concluded Senator Bartlett.


For interview contact Senator Andrew Bartlett on 0418 743 789.



rw  1999-07-07  12:23