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National Party the biggest threat to Great Barrier Reef: Palaszczuk


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has attacked the Nationals while calling for governments to work together to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

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A UNESCO committee has recommended the reef be listed as a World Heritage Site “in danger” from climate change and successive bleaching events. Its long-term outlook has gone from “poor to very poor,” drawing attention to the fate of Queensland’s natural wonder.

The Federal Government will challenge the committee’s recommendation, believing it is based on politics rather than science and will only put Australia’s tourism sector at risk. Some commentators believe it will also make Australia the focus of global climate change protests.

Palaszczuk recently revealed that in her talks with Olympic officials about Brisbane’s 2032 games bid, the reef was repeatedly brought up in conversation.

Today, the Premier reiterated that the Queensland Government had restricted development, scaled back dredging and improved water quality to help protect the “international icon”.

“Now is the time for, I think, greater cooperation with the Federal Government when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef,” Palaszczuk said.

While her government is promoting renewable energy, the Premier criticised support within the federal Coalition for new coal-fired electricity generation projects.

“The greatest risk to the Great Barrier Reef is the National Party,” Palaszczuk said.

Asked about Queensland having approved a new coal mine, Palaszczuk would only say that coal was going to be “needed across the globe for many years to come”. Her government also continues to rely on coal-fired electricity.

Federal Nationals minister and Queensland MP David Littleproud said UNESCO had released no evidence to support its claims.

“They might want to demonstrate that to the Australian government because there has been no inspection, as they have articulated, as far as I have been advised,” Littleproud told ABC radio today.

“I’m not the environment minister and I’m prepared to be corrected on that, but as I am advised, there has been no formal inspection or ask of the Australian government.”

Environment Minister Sussan Ley claimed to have been blindsided by the recommendation.

Littleproud said billions of dollars had been set aside to support the reef and ensure it survived for generations to come.

“Those are the productive steps and the practical steps this government has taken and will continue to take,” he said.

“But if you’re going to make assessments, you shouldn’t do it from an armchair in another country.”

It remains to be seen whether the return of Barnaby Joyce to the National Party leadership will alter the dynamic within the Coalition and policy positions around climate change ahead of the federal election.

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