Around 150 businesses and tourism operators in Far North Queensland are joining Australia’s peak marine conservation group to call on all parties in the federal election to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the impacts of climate change.
The group, which includes 20 reef tourism operators and businesses from hospitality and retail to law and construction, has signed a formal declaration demanding strong climate policies.
The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) has teamed up with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) to make the Great Barrier Reef and climate change a top issue for voters.
AMPTO and AMCS are running a joint advertising campaign and encouraging supporters to write to their local candidates, with AMCS volunteers knocking on doors to spread the message.
Col McKenzie, CEO of AMPTO, said: “The Reef is still a dynamic, vibrant, awesome place but it is under serious threat from climate change and we need our leaders to put in place strong climate and energy policies to protect its future”.
“Today we’re calling on all our political leaders to stand up for Far North Queensland businesses and jobs and demonstrate climate leadership to protect the future of our Reef.”
The AMCS is Australia’s only national charity dedicated solely to protecting our precious ocean wildlife, a community of ocean lovers across the nation working for healthy seas.
AMPTO is the peak industry body for marine tourism within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The association is a not-for-profit limited company, funded by members’ contributions, whose role is to represent its members’ interests in all forums, and further the development of best practice in presenting the wonder of this world heritage area to the world.
Make or break for reef
David Cazzulino, Great Barrier Reef community campaigner at AMCS, said: “This election is make or break for our reef”.
“Political candidates have the opportunity to be climate leaders to stand up for our beautiful reef and the abundance of life it supports, including reef communities like Cairns and Port Douglas.
“Coal and other fossil fuels are causing climate change and that’s damaging our reef, we must say no to new coal mines like Adani and rapidly transition to renewable energy.”
Chris Jones operations manager Tropical Journeys said: “The reef is our livelihood, generating $6 billion each year and supporting 64,000 jobs. As reef tourism businesses, we love the reef and we take seriously our responsibility to look after this incredible place”.
“There’s no doubt that climate change is the biggest threat to our reef — we’ve seen the impacts in the back-to-back coral bleaching events.
“So why do our representatives continue to support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, such as Adani’s coal mine? We need the federal government to take bold action to reduce emissions to protect the reef and the local jobs that depend on it.”