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VIDEO: Great Barrier Reef to become election battleground

By Mark Beale

THE health of the Great Barrier Reef has proven to be a crown-of-thorns in the side of Queensland’s major parties.

A new election video out today is the latest broadside from activists calling for reef protection to become a key voting issue.

The video from the Australian Marine Conversation Society and WWF-Australia has Airlie Beach business owner Tamie Scott, with her two kids, warning that tourism and fishing industries are being put at risk by major port developments.

“Currently the reef is under threat from the rapid expansion of mega-ports along its coastline,” Ms Scott says in the advertisement.

“Millions of tonnes of dredging, some of which will be dumped on sensitive wetlands threatens the tourism and fishing industries.

“I’m doing this for my children and our community.

“We have a responsibility to future generations to protect the Reef, not allow its waters to be dredged up.”

In June last year, members of the United Nations’ World Heritage Committee criticised the Queensland Government’s plans to green light the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen.

The delegation from Jamaica said: “Based purely on the evidence referenced by the experts, it is clear that the integrity of the site is at risk”.

The Port of Gladstone was also raised as a concern for another UN delegation, this one from Portugal.

The UN’s environment body UNESCO will decide whether to label the reef as “in danger” later this year.

The Queensland Government has long defended its credentials on protecting the reef, while supporting the need for port development.

A report card into the reef’s health released in mid-2014 recorded some improvement in water quality.

VIDEO: Great Barrier Reef to become election battleground

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