Thursday, June 16, 2016

Polling shows most Australians want reef prioritised over coal #ReefElection

79 per cent of voters who read the Sydney Morning Herald either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining.

Analysis of Fairfax Media's YourVote tool, which is similar to Votecompass in gauging online readers' beliefs to determine their political leanings, shows that out of about 63,000 responses, about 79 per cent either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the health of the Great Barrier Reef should be prioritised over coal mining. Yet both the Labor and Coalition parties have prioritised coal over coral.


An advisor to Fairfax Media's YourVote, political sociologist Professor Ariadne Vromen from University of Sydney, outlined that neither major party had made commitments comensurate with the strength of feeling of most Australians in the need to prioritise the reef over coal. "This is actually a really important issue that most Australians agree on" said Vromen. "The Great Barrier Reef has world heritage status and Australians clearly appreciate what that means," she said.

We know that it is the Coal barons and climate change driving Great Barrier Reef destruction.

The Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin was approved by Liberal Environment Minister Greg Hunt in October 2015. Queensland Labor Premier Palaszczuk approved Adani coal mine leases in April 2016. But it is the economics of coal that is killing the Adani Carmichael mine proposal. RenewEconomy reported in April that Indian coal imports slump again, confirming Carmichael has no future. Also, that Adani’s big boost to solar means no financial capacity for new coal mines.

Another Indian coal company, GVK, is full of Debt and has dropped all mention of Galilee Basin projects, including the Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner coal mines.

The most recent news this month is that the Indian Energy Ministry has announced plans to cancel four proposed coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 16 gigawatts (GW), which also reduces the need for coal imports from Australia.

Reef future an election issue

Imogen Zethoven, Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef Campaign said in a statement that the future of the Great Barrier Reef had become a key election issue. "Every candidate should be doing all they can to protect the Reef from the multiple threats it faces, including coral bleaching, further climate change impacts and poor water quality. We call on all major parties to provide the Australian people with stronger policies to protect our much-loved, globally significant Great Barrier Reef in the coming days and weeks,” she said.

Recent polling conducted by Galaxy in the Leichhardt far north Queensland electorate has found that people who fish, business owners and the general public share an awareness that the health and future of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea is fundamental to the success of the local economy. The polling shows that 7 out of 10 voters are concerned that the federal government’s review of a Coral Sea marine park is harming local fishing and tourism businesses.

“There is a majority of people living on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea who recognise how important protecting these special places is for tourism and the local economy,” said Ms Maxwell from the Australian Marine Conservation Society in a statement. "This is fueling local concern for business confidence while the government’s review drags on."

The Galaxy polling also shows that:
  • 93 per cent of voters in Leichhardt agree that the health of the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea are interlinked and protecting them both is important for both there future and the tourism jobs that depend on them.
  • 72 per cent of people in Leichhardt strongly agree that maintaining a reputation for unspoilt nature experiences in marine parks is important for Queensland’s tourism industry.
  • 75 per cent believe protecting reefs and other important areas in the Coral Sea as a green zone that provides sanctuary for marine life will boost business opportunities by enhancing the region’s reputation among tourists.
  • 87 per cent of recreational anglers say the green zones on the Great Barrier Reef have had no negative impact on their ability to go fishing. 11 per cent say the green zones have improved their enjoyment of fishing.

On Monday the Malcolm Turnbull Government promised a new $1 billion fund would be established utilising CEFC allocated funding for improved reef catchment water quality reduction and emissions reduction. The plan was immediately criticised as legally problematic, inefficient and far below the funding scientists say is required to Save the Reef. At the end of May, all three major parties made funding commitments which were criticised as far too little to save the reef from the impacts of climate change. That the Reef is very likely facing extinction.