Reef envoy confirms tens of thousands of reef jobs at risk from Morrison's climate inaction

By Terri Butler MP, Mark Butler MP

14 August 2020

In a startling turn around from his last report the Morrison Government’s Reef Envoy, Warren Entsch, has confirmed his Government’s inadequate climate policies are focused on politics not the health and protection of the Great Barrier Reef, nor the 64,000 jobs and 6.4 billion dollars in income reliant on the Reef.

Mr Entsch's promise to "make representations" to scandal-ridden Angus Taylor over the growing impact of climate change ring hollow after his Government’s seven years of inaction on climate change and abject failures on protecting the Reef.
The Government’s failures to protect the Reef include:

  • No response to three devastating mass bleaching events in five years and Reef Outlook reports which have downgraded the Reef’s condition from poor to very poor.
  • Scott Morrison’s outrageous allocation, as Treasurer, of $444 million of public money for the Reef to a hand-picked, tiny, ill-equipped foundation, in a dodgy backroom deal without a tender, later dubbed “Reef Rorts”.
  • The Reef Rort funds have failed to deliver on their promises following revelations that the same foundation has achieved less than seven per cent of its private sector funding goal.
  • A damming Auditor General finding that the Government had failed to comply with rules designed to ensure transparency and value for money on the Reef Rort funds and that the administration costs associated with the grant could be more than $86 million.
  • Mr Entsch’s previous comments as Reef Envoy, denying the greatest threats to the Reef and the science of coral bleaching and climate change, last year, when he said: “It has been happening for millennia.”
  • Allowing the extreme wing of the Liberals and Nationals, like George Christensen, to dictate reef and climate policy, including setting up a Senate Inquiry to question the science of Reef water quality and undermine laws intended to protect the Reef.
  • A successful Queensland LNP state conference motion calling for an Orwellian style science checking body that would second-guess scientific conclusions on the health of the Reef.
  • Scott Morrison’s MP’s launching bizarre anti-climate change conspiracy theories and anti-science attacks on the independent Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

“Our Reef is one of our greatest assets; it deserves serious advocates, strong protections and a long term plan, not a Morrison Government full of denialists and extreme right wingers jeopardising its future,” Shadow Environment Minister Terri Butler said.
“You can’t be serious about protecting the Great Barrier Reef without having a serious climate change policy,” Shadow Climate Change Minister Mark Butler said.