An analysis of policies to protect Australia’s iconic oceans from climate change, pollution, and unsustainable fishing has revealed a stark contrast of policies ahead of the May 18 Federal election, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says.
AMCS, the nation’s peak marine conservation group, has today released its 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 scorecard helps Australians find information about where the parties stand on protecting the marine life, the reefs, and the waters that we love.
“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.
“When it comes to protecting Australia’s vulnerable ocean wildlife and moving Australia towards a cleaner energy future, we found that Labor’s commitments were demonstrably better than the Coalition’s.
“Labor has strong policies on restoring marine sanctuaries and protecting our marine life from unsustainable fishing.
“On urgently needed action to clean up the Reef’s waters, we found the policies both from the Coalition and Labor partly meet what’s needed.
“However, with the mining and burning of coal driving climate pollution, neither major parties’ policies rule 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.”
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 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.”