One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson (left) and Malcolm Roberts inspect a coral as they snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef off Great Keppel Island, Queensland, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. One Nation senators visited the reef to highlight 'untruths' regarding the health of the reef.
One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson (left) and Malcolm Roberts inspect a coral as they snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef off Great Keppel Island, Queensland, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. One Nation senators visited the reef to highlight 'untruths' regarding the health of the reef. DAN PELED

Marine Park Authority 'collecting information' on Hanson's Yeppoon dive

THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is "collecting information” on Pauline Hanson's Yeppoon dive last week.

GBRMPA today confirmed it was investigating concerns raised about Ms Hanson's handling of coral off Great Keppel Island.

The issue was initially raised by Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, following One Nation's trip to Great Keppel Island on Friday in an apparent effort to disprove widespread coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

On her Facebook page, Ms Hanson said she was assuring the community the "Great Barrier Reef is alive and well”.

The politician quickly came under fire from reef and climate groups for inspecting GKI when "the real action” was occurring 1000km to the north.

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It is widely accepted that the northern sector of the coast, from Port Douglas, is the most severely affected by coral mortality.

But Keppel MP Brittany Lauga took specific issue with Ms Hanson's apparent handling of coral around GKI.

Ms Lauga was concerned that during the dive, coral was brought up to the surface and handled by the group.

She said maximum penalties for individuals had increased from $470,000 to $700,000, while corporations faced fines of more than $3.5 million, up from $2.3 million.

This afternoon a spokesperson from the GBRMPA said collecting or touching coral is not allowed, unless a permit has been granted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

"We understand one of the parties involved has an existing research permit, which outlines conditions for coral collecting, including species, size, location and equipment,” the spokesperson said.

"We are seeking further information on the activities - and reviewing the conditions of the permit - to determine what follow up action, if any, is required.”



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