End the mismanagement: Reef key to Coronavirus jobs recovery

16 April 2020

Reports today that scientific investment is underway to mitigate damage to the Great Barrier Reef are an important reminder of the Coalition Government’s appalling mismanagement of the Reef in the past seven years.
 
Shadow Minister for the Environment and Water Terri Butler said the Coalition’s record is bleak with three devastating bleaching events in five years, Reef Outlook reports which have downgraded the Reef’s condition to very poor and an outrageous backroom deal which fell afoul of the Auditor-General and cost Australian’s $444 million.
 
“The Reef is going backwards on the Morrison Government’s watch. The Government has mismanaged it and they don’t have a concrete plan to protect it,” Ms Butler said.
 
“The Great Barrier Reef is an important part of our international identity and will be critical to a jobs recovery post the Coronavirus crisis.Australia will need to leverage our natural advantages into economic growth, supporting jobs and bringing back international tourists.
 
“The third major bleaching event in five years means Australia can’t afford yet another blow to our devastated tourism industry. We need a strong Reef, because it supports 64,000 jobs, brings in $6.4 billion per year and is worth $56 billion.
 
“If the Coalition Government was a private sector asset manager for a $54 billion dollar asset and they managed it this poorly, they’d be sacked in a heartbeat.
 
“We are seeing asset devaluation, poor maintenance, vast sums of funds money being allocated without proper processes and no plan to preserve its value for its shareholders - all Australians.
 
“The Reef is a job-generating, economic and environmental powerhouse for all Australians. It will again be open for business and is still one of the best tourism experiences on the planet, but we need to protect its future.  
 
Whilst the Federal Government’s attention must be directed towards saving lives, protecting incomes, and securing the safety of all Australians, we must also plan for our economic recovery now.’’
 
Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler said that the greatest threat to the Reef was Climate Change and it was fortunate that many of Australia’s world-leading scientific organisations are working on mitigation projects to provide some hope in the face of startling mismanagement by the Coalition.
 
“You can’t be serious about saving the Reef without a serious plan to tackle climate change,” Mark Butler said.