ENVIRONMENT - Great Barrier Reef thrown a lifeline
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says the Great Barrier Reef's future looks more secure following the passing of the Great Barrier Reef Protection Amendment Bill in Queensland Parliament last week.
The new law, it said, targets reducing the run-off of nutrients, pesticides and sediment from farming land onto the Great Barrier Reef.
"The future of the Great Barrier Reef rests upon radically reducing the chemical pollution and sediment run-off that is harming the reef,” said Darren Kindleysides, director of the AMCS.
“This global icon for the marine environment and powerhouse of Australia's tourist economy deserves nothing less.
“It is heartening to see the Bligh Government act swiftly to deliver their election promise to tackle one of the greatest threats to the Reef.
"This legislation throws the reef a lifeline, but it is just the first step. If run-off is to be halved within
four years the Government must ensure money is made available to help farmers meet the requirements of this regulation and become stewards of the Great Barrier Reef catchment," Kindleysides said.
In September, the AMCS said the Federal Government's own assessment of the health of the Reef — the Reef Outlook Report — identified run-off as being the highest category of risk to its future.
The conversation group said the Great Barrier Reef's survival also depends on building its resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as ocean warming and acidification; and reducing pollution is central to ensuring the Reef can withstand these impacts.
"The impacts of climate change risk turning parts of the reef to rubble. We must act quickly to do all we can to build up the reef's defences to climate change," said Kindleysides.