Save the Reef – About the Great Barrier Reef Blog

The Great Barrier Reef Blog is one small part of a massive global effort to save the reef from shut-downs, bias and censorship in the mainstream media on the critical state of the World Heritage Area and the massive damage which is either approved or waiting approval by the Queensland and Federal Government.

Sue Arnold is a former Fairfax investigative journalist with a long history of involvement in major environmental issues both within Australia and overseas.

Sue is CEO of the California Gray Whale Coalition ( now the largest economic and environmental coalition for whales on the west coast of North America.

She also heads up Australians for Animals Inc.,(AFA) one of Australia‘s longest serving conservation/animal welfare organisations. AFA is an International Whaling Commission NGO.

Running campaigns on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, the two issues have one major similarity. The oil and gas industry is changing the face of the Arctic Ocean which is the primary habitat of Gray Whales. In Australia, the oil and gas industry are running amok, destroying the terrestrial and marine environment along with irreplaceable, endangered wildlife. The commercial fishing industry has taken a huge hit and the loss of this industry will have major impacts on the economy and the diet of Australians.

Sue represents the charity and the California Gray Whale Coalition internationally and has access to an enviable range of scientists and international lawyers.

The blog is a major effort to raise awareness of the current and potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage. If the future of this magnificent area is left to the Queensland and Federal governments, there will be no World Heritage and a catastrophic loss of marine creatures and their environment.

Healthy oceans are essential to human health and a viable Planet.

Recent History of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest World Heritage Area, and is probably the best-known marine protected area in the world. It contains the world’s most extensive coral reef system with 400 species of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It is one of the world’s richest areas in terms of biological diversity and is the habitat or species such as the dugong and green turtle which are threatened with extinction.

Practically the entire ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres.

The GBR is of superlative natural beauty above and below the water, and provides some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. It is one of a few living structures visible from space, appearing as a complex string of reefal structures along Australia’s northeast coast.
This precious jewel which is the common heritage of humanity is under threat because of the complete failure of the Australian Federal and Queensland State governments to protect the World Heritage.

A UNESCO team visited Australia in late March to inspect the current and projected developments which are currently destroying Gladstone Harbor and impacting GBRWHA.

They were shocked at what they found, particularly in Gladstone Harbor where one of the world’s biggest LNG Terminals is being built in the GBR World Heritage Area. At the St Petersburg meeting of the World Heritage Secretariat, Australia was given six months to “ fix the problem” otherwise, the GBR will be downlisted to a World Heritage in Danger.

At Gladstone, approximately 42 million tonnes of the Harbour bed is being dredged to build pipelines to the terminals and infrastructure and port development for shipping vessels which will take the LNG overseas. This is the largest industrial project in Gladstone Harbour; an order of magnitude larger than anything in the last 30 years. The dredging has resulted in a high degree of contaminant mobilisation, poisoning fish, dugongs, turtles and other marine life.
All denied by the Federal and State governments.

Sediments contain high levels of aluminium, nickel, magnesium, mercury, nutrients, pesticides and acid sulphate. It’s heartbreaking to see the sick fish, stingrays, crabs with holes in their shells, dead turtles and dugongs. There’s been a 35% loss of snub fin dolphins, mortality figures are frightening.

This blog is a result of shut-downs, bias and incredible censorship by the mainstream media. The massive damage to the GBRWHA will continue as the Abbott government will soon give approval to the Alpha Coal Project which will include another massive dredging operation at Abbot Point, thus further impacting the Reef. The resource industry has been given a free for all.
Australia is the new third world country where the resource industry can be assured of no legal barriers and no problems destroying the environment of this ancient continent.

The blog is a compilation of stories and information provided by a number of journalists who are doing their best to get the story of the destruction of the World Heritage Area to the world-wide public.

If you love coral reefs, diving, snorkelling, whales, sailing or holidaying on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, please get involved. Circulate the blog URL to your friends, communities, businesses and environmental organisations.

Media censorship of the destruction being visited on the GBRWHA is ensuring global silence.

The Gillard government was the most anti environmental government Australia has experienced.
The Tony Abbott government will make Gillard’s record look like a picnic. Thus far, the omens are not encouraging as the new PM talks up investment (more coal mines, destruction of agricultural lands and the Reef), and trade . There’s no talk of the environment needing better levels of protection.

This blog predicts that Greg Hunt, now Environment Minister, will give the go ahead to Abbot Point, a second shipping channel in Gladstone and the Gallilee Basin.

There has never been a more important time to be aware, well versed in the environmental issues Australia faces than now.

With no strong Parliamentary voice for the Earth and its non human inhabitants, communities will have to stand up and be counted.

Throughout history, grass roots activism has always prevailed. Get involved !

Sue Arnold