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Famous actor/director joins fight to save Reef from coal

December 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Award-winning Australian actor and director Simon Baker has thrown his support behind efforts by tourism operators to ban the development of one of the world’s largest coal mines just inland from the Great Barrier Reef.

The Reef is one of Australia’s greatest tourism icons. If Adani’s Carmichael Mine goes ahead, up to 2.3 billion tonnes of coal will be extracted from the area over 60 years, equivalent to five times the size of Sydney Harbour.

The Great Barrier Reef is under extreme stress and in 2016 suffered the worst bleaching ever recorded. Surveys published in June that year estimated that 93% of coral on the vast northern section of the reef was bleached, and 22% had already been killed.

Simon Baker

Trailblazer and Logie award-winning Simon Baker, star of The Mentalist and director of Tim Winton’s ‘Breath’, is asking the industry and the public to fight for the Reef, stop Adani and tackle the climate change that is driving severe coral bleaching.

“Right now, our Prime Minister is trying to open one of the largest coal mines on Earth. Just inland from the Reef. Just when we should be giving coal a miss. Frankly, that’s so reckless it’s terrifying…”

Baker’s heartfelt message was released at the weekend on Facebook:

"Terrifying" – Simon Baker asks YOU to Fight For Our Reef!

"So reckless it’s terrifying!" Simon Baker, award-winning actor and director, has an important message for all Australians.SHARE + ACT: Tell Turnbull to protect our Reef >> https://fightforourreef.org.au/simonbaker#FightForOurReef #StopAdani

Posted by Fight For Our Reef on Thursday, December 14, 2017

 

And on YouTube:

 

 

Any more damage to the Reef could have major knock-on effects for tourism in Far North Queensland, which generates AUD 6 billion a year and supports some 64,000 jobs.

So far, by a fortunate accident of geography, some of the best parts of the Reef for tourist viewing have been spared the worst bleaching damage. They tend to be located on the edge of the continental shelf near cooler, deeper waters.

The good luck is unlikely to continue indefinitely. Last year’s blaaching event was so severe the US magazine Outside ran an obituary for the Reef: “25 million BC – 2016”.

A recent article in the Guardian quoted Claire Zwick, a former boat skipper in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and now co-owner of Coral Sea Dreaming in Cairns.

Coral Sea Dreaming has 28 permitted sites, the largest number of any Cairns operator and Zwick wants the world to know “the reef is still alive and beautiful”.

A pair of Barrier Reef Anemone fish (Amphiprion akindynos) and diver. Yankee Reef, Great Barrier Reef

 

But she is concerned about the climate impact of Adani’s proposed coal mine and hopes it does not go ahead.

Zwick was among more than 170 businesses and individuals who signed an open letter to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, calling for the scrapping of the mine and urgent climate change action after last year’s bleaching.

Now Baker has added his voice.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive, Daniel Gschwind, told the Guardian the reef is now “possibly more famous than Australia”.

“Everybody has heard of it, most people want to come and visit some time, many people report fond memories of it,” he says.

Protecting it is essential.

Written by Peter Needham

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