Critical Reef water laws upheld

The Great Barrier Reef water quality regulations will be implemented after a move to strike them out by the Opposition failed to pass the Queensland Parliament in a win for common sense according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

Last month the Queensland LNP introduced a disallowance motion to roll back water quality regulations designed to clean up waterways and stop pollution flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. Last night, Parliament voted down the Opposition’s disallowance motion.

AMCS spokesperson Shani Tager said: “It’s good news that common sense has prevailed and these crucial regulations remain in place to stop farm pollution flowing into our beautiful Reef.

“After this summer’s mass coral bleaching it should be all hands on deck to ease the pressure on our Reef and safeguard our national icon.

“The science is clear that agricultural runoff is damaging our Reef and years of voluntary measures to stop farm pollution have failed to deliver results.

“Now is the time to stand up for the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on a healthy Reef by increasing funding to clean up waterways, stop agricultural pollution and get serious about cutting carbon emissions.

“This move by the LNP was a distraction in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis when our politicians should have been looking at how we can create jobs and address the biggest threats to our Reef’s health at the same time.

“Queensland can rebuild for our Reef by supporting jobs-rich clean energy projects and funding work that restores our natural landscape. Both parties need to step up and commit to fighting for the future of our Reef.

“We congratulate the Queensland Government and parliament for doing the right thing and ensuring these regulations are implemented for the benefit of our Reef and all Queenslanders.

“It’s important that the regulations are backed in by funding and compliance to ensure that a handful of farmers who aren’t meeting the minimum standards don’t let everybody else down.”

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will be assessing Australia’s performance in protecting the Reef at their next meeting including the actions they are taking on cleaning up water quality.

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