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Save the Reef group to lobby MPs about 'dire' reef threat

AUSTRALIA’s greatest sex show came to the Whitsunday waters last week when the Great Barrier Reef’s annual coral spawning occurred.
AUSTRALIA’s greatest sex show came to the Whitsunday waters last week when the Great Barrier Reef’s annual coral spawning occurred. AAP

CAMPAIGNING group Save the Reef says it will present a submission this morning to alert MPs to the "dire threats being posed to the Great Barrier Reef by mine discharges" from the Fitzroy catchment.

Public hearings on the recently-announced Newman Government's Economic Development Bill 2012 are scheduled for 9am-1pm today.

Save the Reef spokesperson Libby Connors says the group is concerned about provisions which will allow the mining industry to use emergency provisions to discharge 250,000 megalitres of contaminated pit water into the Fitzroy River, almost two years after the floods.

"The Fitzroy river catchment is the drinking water source for over 100,000 people in Rockhampton and several other towns," Ms Connors said.

"This bill will effectively abolish the stricter rules brought in to protect the river after it was contaminated in 2008.

"It allows mining companies to claim economic hardship and get verbal approval to discharge their waste in 24 hours. The public have no ability to intervene.

"The river is also home to threatened species such as the Snubfin Dolphin which was only identified in 2005.

"We do not know what the long-term effects of these discharges will be on the marine environment."

She says GBRMPA only tests for pesticides and agrichemicals.

"No one is carrying out systematic testing of heavy metals and other contaminants from mine water on the Fitzroy delta and Keppel Bay, even though it has been known for years that many heavy metals bioaccumulate causing irreparable harm to marine environments," Ms Connors says.

Her comments come as Greenpeace launches a campaign urging people to send a message to Queensland's Premier letting him know it was not acceptable to put drinking water and the reef's future at risk for the benefit of the coal industry.

Topics:  fitzroy water, save the reef


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