Peak Marine Conservation Group Releases Cairns Reef and Oceans Election Scorecard

Australia’s peak marine conservation group has today released its detailed assessment of the Great Barrier Reef policies of Cairns election candidates ahead of the Federal vote on May 18.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society examined the policies of Cairns candidates across three key areas using published policy material, public statements and direct correspondence.

David Cazzulino, Great Barrier Reef Community Campaigner at AMCS, said: “The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, home to fish, corals, turtles and dugongs.

“Our Reef supports 64,000 jobs and generates $6 billion each year and voters have said they want strong action to protect its future.

“The climate crisis is the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Between the two major parties, our assessment found that Labor’s commitments were clearly well ahead of the Coalition’s. But we found there was still work to do to properly protect our Reef at a crucial time in history.”

The Cairns scorecard assessed candidates policies on renewable energy, ruling out new thermal coal mines such as the Adani mine, and cleaning up Reef water pollution.

AMCS has also today released its national Federal election scorecard assessing key ocean and Great Barrier Reef policies of the major parties.

Darren Kindleysides, CEO of AMCS, said: “AMCS is non-partisan. We don’t tell people how to vote. Our scorecards help Australians find information about where the parties stand on protecting the marine life, the reefs, and the waters that they love.

“When it comes to protecting Australia’s vulnerable ocean wildlife and moving Australia towards a cleaner energy future, we found broadly that Labor’s commitments were head and shoulders above the Coalition’s.”

AMCS assessed the main parties across six major issues that would deliver “cooler and cleaner oceans”, protect wildlife and give the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance against climate change. The areas assessed were:

  • Rapid shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy
  • Rejection of new thermal coal mines
  • Cut Great Barrier Reef water pollution
  • Restore marine sanctuaries
  • Protect endangered wildlife from fishing
  • Tackle plastic pollution

As well as releasing the independent scorecard, AMCS has also published a detailed assessment that shows how relevant policies were rated.

Kindleysides said “Our oceans are warming, the future of the world’s coral reefs hang in the balance and Australians have made it clear they want more action from political leaders at this election.

“Labor has strong policies on restoring marine sanctuaries and protecting our marine life from unsustainable fishing. However, with the mining and burning of coal driving climate pollution, neither major party has committed to do enough to ruling out all new thermal coal mines, like the Adani mine.

“The Greens policy platform was strong across the board and met all of our key areas of concern.”

Kindleysides added: “Our oceans need and deserve our help. Our iconic species like our dolphins, sharks and turtles need protecting. Our Great Barrier Reef needs policies that will give it a fighting chance by tackling climate change and cleaning up the water.

“We know that marine tourism is delivering $31 billion a year to Australia’s economy. We know that our Great Barrier Reef supports more than 60,000 jobs.

“But we also know that Australians love our oceans – and why wouldn’t they? They give us so much – they are central to the lives of so many of us. Under the waves, we have more species living in our oceans than any country on Earth.

“The future of the Reef and Australia’s amazing oceans is in the hands of the next Australian government. We are calling on all parties to commit to doing what it takes to protect our oceans for future generations.”

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