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Water quality laws will give Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance, says peak marine conservation group

April 15, 2019 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

New farm pollution laws discussed at a final public hearing in Queensland today are a vital step in giving the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance of surviving climate change, says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The Queensland Government’s Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee is holding its final public hearing in Bundaberg today on proposed laws that would give the government the power to set standards on farming practices to cut pollution running into the Reef’s catchments.

Nick Heath, AMCS President, said the bill was “incredibly important”, adding: “These regulations are critical for boosting the health of the Great Barrier Reef and helping it recover.”

AMCS is Australia’s peak marine conservation group. Heath has told a previous hearing that he has seen once-beautiful parts of the reef turn to “rubble” for outbreaks of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

“When excess fertiliser runs off farms, it goes into the rivers that wind out to the Reef and that  feeds outbreaks of crown-of-thorn-starfish. Vast amounts of coral gets eaten by those starfish on our Reef.”

“We know voluntary programs just won’t do anywhere near enough to clean up the water running into the Reef – studies have told us that.”

Heath said that in 2020 the World heritage Committee would be again reviewing the Great Barrier Reef and looking at actions that the Queensland Government had taken.

“The world is watching. Putting these laws in place will show that Queensland is serious about using science to guide good policy. The Reef needs this bill.”

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