WHITE OUT: A diver inspects a bleached portion of the Great Barrier Reef.
WHITE OUT: A diver inspects a bleached portion of the Great Barrier Reef. XL Catlin Seaview Survey.

My Say: State Govt’s Reef funding pledge a bit rich

HAVE I missed something?

The State Government has asked the private sector and generous philanthropists to dig into their pockets and provide funding to help improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Palaszczuk Government announced earlier this week it would match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $3 million to go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

How generous.

They'll donate up to $3 million of our money, to match an extra $3 million of our money to help improve water quality.

It was only in April that same State Government approved leases for the Carmichael Coal Mine.

That approval will see up to 60 million tonnes of coal per year transported by rail to Hay Point and Abbot Point coal terminals before being shipped out through the midst of the Great Barrier Reef.

The State Government will also invest $100 million into protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

You can remove your forehead from the brick wall and continue reading, I just realised what I'd missed.


Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Five thousand of them during construction of the $21 billion mine, rail and port projects and more than 4500 during the mine's peak operations.

According to a Deloitte study into the Great Barrier Reef's economic contributions, in 2012, total tourism expenditure was estimated at almost $6.5 billion, slightly down on the 2007 estimate, partly explained by a global financial crisis and numerous natural disasters, but delivering a direct economic contribution of almost $3 billion.

That study also had tourism-related activity accounting for the employment of 63,985 people on a full-time equivalent basis (44,850 directly employed and almost 19,500 indirectly).

I don't claim to be Einstein but those numbers aren't stacking up for me.

The tourism industry may be at the peril of the weather at times, but surely it's a lot kinder to one of the seven wonders of the world than the fossil-fuel alternative?

A hard-line stance against a rapidly out-dating industry coupled with investment in the protection and rehabilitation of a dying Reef would have been a wiser move.

The effects of coral bleaching and farming have been disastrous for the Reef and it's hard to see a major coal export operation bringing it back to its vibrant best.

I know I won't be taking my kids to sit awestruck at a coal mine. That experience is unique to the Reef and should've been defended far more vigorously.

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