According to today’s news report in the Financial Review, Greg Hunt will release ” Australia’s final pitch to the World Heritage Committee this weekend.”

As always the pitch will NOT include the major loss of dugongs, in shore dolphins, and the impacts of carbon emissions from the Carmichael mines on the Reef; ocean acidity; climate change; warming seawater temperatures and the lack of any proper monitoring or comprehensive research on the entire World Heritage Reef.

Back in l977 Australia’s famous poet, Judith Wright wrote The Coral Battleground which she updated in l996.  The book is an extraordinary tale of the battle to protect the Reef from the resource industry who were negotiating major oil leases with the then Federal government.

What stands out in her excellent book are two important facts.   Scientists Judith worked with were able to demonstrate that coral larvae from the Reef seeded other important reefs in the Pacific – a fact that has never been raised in the current campaign or research.

She also points out that the entire Reef functions as an holistic system.  In other words, the Reef itself is one gigantic ecosystem and its purpose and ecological role has never been properly examined.    The Abbott and previous Labor governments went to great pains to ensure that any Reef research was split up into micro-areas ensuring that no cumulative impacts on the Reef in its entirety were ever put up for scientific examination.

According to the Financial Review article, a report commissioned by the ports industry predicts the Reef will end up on the endangered list because of ” significant lobbying by conservation and community groups“.  According to the report, if the Reef is downgraded, it could be on the endangered list for years, particularly given that many of the threats are long term, legacy related or linked to climate change.  ( That’s a breakthrough, finally.  An admission that the major threats are long term!).

The downgrading of the Great Barrier Reef by the World Heritage Committee would have dire consequences for miners and farmers, who could face greater limits on development according to the report.  The loss would also drive tourists away.

And, if the Reef is put on the endangered list, the World Heritage Committee would play an increased role in policing the reef. This would include the potential to require additional measures to conserve the “outstanding universal value” of the Great Barrier Reef and an annual review.

Well folks, this is good news.  It’s critical that the World Heritage Committee downgrade the Reef.  This is the only certain way of ensuring long term protection of this global jewel.

But the forces of darkness are huge and many member countries are controlled, financed or heavily influenced by the resource industry which is attempting to take over the world so we can consume Planet Earth in record time.   There will be massive efforts made, not only by the Australian government, but other governments to support Australia’s propaganda push that the Abbott government is the Reef’s savior.

So much angst and political shit fights could have been avoided if Australia had governments who represented the people and understood the importance of not only protecting one of the natural wonders of the world, but the fundamental fact that only healthy environments produce healthy economic outcomes.

Opinion, Sue Arnold. Editor. l8 March, 2015

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