Great Barrier Reef
The resources sector has a very strong interest in preserving the biodiversity of the iconic GBR and recognises that the health of both the reef and its operations are intertwined
As evidenced by its World Heritage listing and recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is unquestionably one of the most important features of Australia’s environmental heritage and biodiversity landscape. The resources sector has a very strong interest in preserving the biodiversity of the iconic GBR and QRC recognises that the health of both the reef and the resources sector are intertwined.
QRC’s fundamental position in relation to the GBR and industry co-existence, is the need for continuing focus on risk management and addressing the impacts of scientifically documented environmental threats. The fulfilment of (regulatory and ethical) obligations and transparent presentation of factual scientific information by industry, governments and the community is essential if this is to occur.
Independent scientific studies, including the GBR Water Science Taskforce Final Report (2016) and the latest Outlook Report (2014), identified the major threats to the reef’s health as poor water quality from land-based activities, storms and cyclones, Crown of Thorns Starfish and climate change. The GBR Water Science Taskforce Final Report highlights that whilst climate change is recognised as the most significant long-term threat to the GBR, improving water quality now will help build the reef’s resilience and its ability to bounce back from impacts. In the report, agricultural land uses are identified as the main source of nitrogen, sediment and pesticides into the reef, whilst other land and coastal uses, such as industry, ports and dredging, mining, sewage treatment plants and urban residential activity are acknowledged as relatively small overall contributors to declining water quality.
While QRC has been consistent in its acknowledgment of the fact that the resources sector does have an impact on the GBR, industry must be placed in the context of the key threats. Any policy or program that fails to seek contributions from the major contributors to the impacts on the GBR, will ultimately fail to halt the decline in condition of the reef. QRC is supportive of a proportionate, combined effort by industry (resources, ports, agriculture, tourism, fishing etc.) as well as government, communities, and other private enterprise, working together to protect and conserve this great national asset.
See links below to explore the four key areas of GBR policy that QRC works on.
For an overview of these GBR topics, refer to QRC’s fact sheet Working Alongside the Great Barrier Reef – Valuing Industry’s Connection.