100 people protest ports in Yeppoon
DEMONSTRATIONS opposing new coal terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area were held in six Australian cities yesterday, including Yeppoon where more than 100 people gathered on the foreshore for breakfast.
The demonstrations coincided with yesterday's release of the government's State Party Report on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area where the Australian Government declared an absolute commitment to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and the oceans.
Greenpeace vowed to step up its campaign saying the government failed to halt coal port developments.
"We have stopped plans to drill for oil on the Great Barrier Reef in the past.
"We must make it clear as a nation that some things are not for sale at any price," said Greenpeace climate change campaigner Georgina Woods.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the management and protection of the reef was a top priority, but Ms Woods said the Government had defied most of the UNESCO recommendations.
"There's no commitment he (Tony Burke) won't approve more coal terminals or dredging that threatens dugongs, turtles, fish and other marine life."
The Greens candidate for Capricornia, Paul Bambrick, said the community had nothing to show for the massive degradation to the reef, water and air.
"What do we have to show for it?" he said.
"The roads are worse than they were when we started the mining boom … the hospitals are closing down.
"Where is the money going to? Somebody's getting rich out of this."
However, Mr Burke said the report outlined how the government was improving the resilience of the Reef through its water quality improvement programs and research initiatives.
"We have made substantial progress in addressing the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee, including agreement to conduct one of the most comprehensive strategic assessments ever undertaken in Australia," Mr Burke said.