Our climate is warming and this is causing changes in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem which makes the Reef more vulnerable to possible impacts particularly over summer and cyclone season.

In 2016 and 2017 there was unprecedented back-to-back coral bleaching on the Reef north of Cairns.

Fortunately this bleaching was not repeated in the summer of 2018, but the coral was hit by record-breaking flooding in February 2019, and a severe tropical cyclone that passed over the reef on March 19.

Severe Cyclone Trevor passes over the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority told Senate estimates hearings in Canberra recently that there is a chance corals hit by mass bleaching in 2016 or 2017 could be damaged again by one of several impacts from the flooding disaster that hit Townsville in February 2019.

Scientists are surveying the marine fallout from the state’s latest natural disaster, with the spectacle of muddy waters fanning out from swollen rivers of the Whitsundays to Cape Tribulation captured in satellite images that have been shared around the world.

The Tourism industry in Australia employs over 534,000 people.

Queensland’s Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones in a recent statement said tourism was a $25 billion industry in the state and directly employed about 217,000 people, nearly 10 per cent of the state’s workforce.

The risk to tourism from climate change cannot be over estimated.

The IPCC Report released in October 2018.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment.

With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand-in-hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

It’s clear if we are to save the Great Barrier Reef and protect thousands of jobs in the tourism industry we must act now.