Media Releases


December 02, 2016

The Turnbull Government’s update on the Great Barrier Reef progress to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre is playing down the dramatic climate changes that are affecting one of Australia’s most precious natural landmarks.

The Government’s response to the worst ever bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef includes:

  • No new action.
  • No new money.
  • No attempt to address the seriousness of climate change.

The bleaching of the reef is directly linked to climate change. As ocean temperatures rise, coral is the first casualty. And the damage to some sections of the reef is so severe that it will never be able to recover.

Australians are tremendously proud and protective of the Great Barrier Reef. An Essential Research poll found that two-thirds of Australians are critically concerned with the health of the reef, declaring that it should be recognised as a “national emergency”.

More than two million people from every corner of the globe come to visit the Reef every year, generating more than $2 billion in tourism dollars for north-eastern Australia. 

Do Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg want to be remembered as the Government that lost the reef?

How can a Government that has no climate policies post-2020 be seen as a serious protector of our natural treasures?

The Government has ignored the severe bleaching for too long, and doesn’t have a proper plan to address it.

At the last election Labor proposed a comprehensive $500 million plan to invest in science and research, reef management and direct environment work. Added to this is our serious commitment to climate change policy, including a target to have net zero emissions by 2050.

No plan for the reef can be effective without a credible plan to address climate change – something only Labor can deliver.