MORE than 100 people attended the first Reef Hour hosted by Hamilton Island last Thursday night.
Guest speakers at the event including finance and energy expert Tim Buckley and former GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) director, Dr Adam Smith, both of whom discussed ongoing threats to the Great Barrier Reef.
Dr Smith said there were some good initiatives in the government’s Reef 2050 Plan, “but often government policy is a plan for a plan”.
“We need action if we are to lock in the future health of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
Mr Buckley predicted that opening up the Galilee Basin would increase the global supply of coal by 27 per cent.
“[But] the price of coal will go down materially, decreasing profitability,” he said.
“The Queensland and Australian governments are kidding themselves if they think the Galilee is going to open up more thermal coal for the world and not have any adverse impact on existing mining operations.” Mr Buckley said in his opinion, operations already at zero profit margins would be driven into the red and mines already employing lots of Australian workers would ultimately be destroyed.
He said from a financial analyst’s perspective, mine closures, job losses, risking the climate and risking the reef, for the sake of “uncommercial projects” didn’t make economic sense.
Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) Great Barrier Reef campaigner Cherry Muddle said she too believed the reef was at risk.
“Our jobs, lifestyles, fishing, diving and sailing grounds, and our precious natural wonder are all at risk from 100 million tones of dredging. We must all get involved and continue the push to protect our reef,” she said.
“Community pressure is working, but we can’t stop now.”